by B.B. Pelletier
Photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
This is the second of my reports on the 2012 SHOT Show. There will certainly be at least one more after this, and perhaps even more, as there’s simply too much new information to pack into a single report.
The state of the airgun industry in 2012
Before I get to some specifics, I want to make a general observation. This year’s SHOT Show was different for me in a major way, because I saw for the first time that firearms shooters are beginning to understand airguns as never before. In the past, I always had to start my explanations with the cooling of the earth’s crust and then progress through the age of the dinosaurs because each firearms person I talked to thought of airguns as either toys or BB guns. This year, a lot of them were clued-in on what’s happening. They weren’t surprised by the accuracy we get, and they knew about big bores. A lot of them had some airgun experience and more than a few asked me the same kind of questions that I get from long-time readers of this blog.
That tells me the day of the airgun has finally dawned in the U.S. Instead of 25,000 to 50,000 active shooters (at best!), we will now see an influx from over 5 million active firearm shooters who are ready to augment their shooting experience with airguns. I’m already getting calls and emails from state departments of wildlife resources, asking about the issues of incorporating airguns into their hunting seasons.
It has been a long haul to get to this point, but we’re now seeing the start of the harvest of all the work that’s been done over the past 40 years — starting with Robert Beeman in the early 1970s. The job is now to manage this growth and provide useful information to the tens of thousands of new airgunners who are flooding in the doors.
Let me reflect on how the industry seems to be reacting to this trend. Some companies have been on board for many years and are poised to ride the new tidal wave of business as far as they can. Other companies are aware that airguns are very hot, but they’re foundering, trying to understand them. Let me say right now that it’s not as easy as you think!
The readers of this blog are among the most clued-in airgunners in the world. But they’re unique, and they do not represent the true market. The demographic of a new airgunner is a man (usually) in his late 20s to late 40s who is most likely a fan of AR-type rifles and Glock-type pistols. He wants repeaters, semiautos and he thinks that a five-shot group is the gold standard of any gun. Velocity impresses him, and he isn’t comfortable with the term kinetic energy.
Things like good triggers and good sights are not an issue with this customer until he experiences bad ones. His ARs have decent triggers off the rack, and he can choose from many drop-in triggers that are much better. When he encounters a spring-piston gun with a horrible trigger that cannot be easily modified, he’s surprised.
He does not use the artillery hold, and he equates all airguns to be alike in terms of performance. When he learns about precharged guns, he’s put off by the additional equipment he must buy. Spring-piston guns seem the best to him for their simple operation, and he doesn’t appreciate the fact that they’re also the most difficult airguns to shoot well.
That’s the customer who’s coming to airguns today, so that’s the person airgun manufacturers have to deal with. If you have wondered why many of the new airguns are what they are — this new-customer profile is the reason.
Okay, I’ve talked about those companies that get it and those that are struggling to understand. There’s one more type of company out there. I like to call them the “gloom and doom company” or the “zero sum company.” They’re firmly entrenched in the 1970s and cannot take advantage of this new windfall of business. They either fired their engineers years ago or they let them all retire, and now they couldn’t build a new airgun to save their lives. As far as they’re concerned, there are only 25,000 airgunners in the United States and it’s the NRA’s responsibility to identify and train them so these companies can sell them some guns.
They think of marketing in 1950’s terms, when a simple paint job and some sheet metal was enough to create a new product. Their “secret” business plan is to buy guns made by other manufacturers and have their name put on. If you’re a collector, better buy up the guns these guys sell because in 10 years their name will be a memory.
That’s enough of the big picture. Let’s see some more products.
More from Crosman
Many of you saw the list of new Crosman products Kevin posted last week, so the few that I show here are by no means all there is, but they’re the highlights. Crosman had about half the new airgun products at the entire SHOT Show.
New tan M4-177 and carry handle
The M4-177 multi-pump that I recently tested for you is going to be very popular this year. Crosman is also offering it as an M4-177 Tactical air rifle with a new carry handle that replaces the rear sight for improved sighting options. I think this gun will be in their lineup for many years to come.
The M4-177 now comes as this tactical model in tan with a carry handle.
I mentioned to Crosman’s Ed Schultz that this rifle looks like the A.I.R.-17 of the 1990s, but done better. He said he always wanted to update that design, and that is exactly what this is. So, what he said next came as no great surprise.
I shared my thoughts on a 2260 made as a multi-pump in .25 caliber, and Ed told me that was how the rifle was originally created (not in .25, however). The CO2 version was an afterthought that got put into production, while the multi-pump version languished in the Crosman morgue. I told him that I thought the time was ripe to bring it back as an upscale hunting rifle, and he seemed to agree. We can only hope.
Carbon fiber tank
As Crosman extends their capability into PCP guns, they know shooters are always looking for better options for their air supply. Besides the new butterfly hand pump I showed you last time, they’ll also be adding a long summer-sausage black carbon fiber tank with increased capacity over their current tanks. This is a 300-bar tank that has 342 cubic-inch capacity. It comes in a black nylon carrying case with sling for field transport.
More air for you! New Benjamin carbon fiber tank will help you take your PCPs further afield.
Benjamin Nitro Piston breakbarrel pistol
The Benjamin NP breakbarrel pistol certainly has people talking on the internet. This is the first commercial gas spring application in a pistol, I believe. The most distinctive feature is a cocking aid that can either be detached or left in place while shooting. That reminds us that this pistol is going to be hard to cock, but I’ll test one for you so we’ll all know just how hard.
New Benjamin Trail NP pistol is a breakbarrel with a gas spring. The cocking aid can be detached or left in place while shooting.
Crosman 1720T PCP pistol
Everybody was ready to jump down Crosman’s throat for creating the 1720T PCP pistol. They wondered with the .22-caliber Marauder pistol and the .177-caliber Silhouette PCP pistol already selling, why was this one needed? As Ed Schultz explained it to me — this one is for field target. It’s a .177 (naturally) that produces just under 12 foot-pounds through a shrouded Lother Walther barrel. It can be used for hunting, but field target was its primary purpose. They worried about the shot count with the Silhouette; but with this one, power was the criterion. Look for about 800 f.p.s. with a 7.9-grain Premier. And the trigger is the same as the Marauder, so excellent operation there.
The new Crosman 1720T PCP pistol is meant for field target competition. It will also work well for hunting.
Crosman MAR 177 PCP conversion
The Crosman MAR-177 PCP conversion is another new product that has a lot of people talking. This AR-15 upper converts your .223 semiauto into a .177 PCP repeating target rifle. Because it’s on an AR platform, almost everybody expects it to be semiautomatic — including those who should know better. This rifle is a bolt action that cocks and loads via a short pull on the charging handle.
This conversion is an Olympic-grade target rifle for a new official sport that Scott Pilkington and others have been promoting for several years. It will take the U.S. battle rifle back into the ranks of target shooting. However, the look of the gun has many shooters totally confused. I was even asked at the show if I thought Crosman should have come out with an “everyman’s” version of the gun first. That would be like asking whether Feinwerkbau missed the boat by not first making their 700 target rifle in a $300 version for casual plinkers.
The MAR-177 PCP conversion is an upper for your target-grade lower. Plan on investing about another $1,000 in a good lower if you hope to compete.
Crosman TT BB pistol
It’s all-metal and a good copy of the Tokarev pistol. The weight is good and the gun feels just right. This will be one to test as soon as possible.
Crosman’s TT Tokarev BB pistol is realistic and looks like fun.
Benjamin MAV 77 Underlever
The Benjamin MAV 77 underlever rifle is going to force Crosman to recognize spring-piston air rifles instead of just calling them all breakbarrels. This is the TX-200 copy from BAM that was once sold by Pyramyd Air. When the quality dropped off, it was discontinued. Hopefully, Crosman will watch the quality on this one.
They didn’t have a firm retail price yet, but hopefully it’ll be significantly under the TX. Otherwise, why buy it? I may test one for you, but I already know that BAM can make a great rifle when they want to. I think it all comes down to price.
Benjamin MAV-77 is an underlever spring-piston rifle that looks and, hopefully, performs like an Air Arms TX-200.
The Crosman TR-77 is a conventional breakbarrel spring-piston rifle in an unconventional stock. It’s different enough that I want to test one for you. It appears to be a lower-powered rifle that probably sells at a bargain price because it’s branded under the Crosman banner rather than Benjamin. Mac photographed one in a sand-colored stock for you.
Crosman TR-77 breakbarrel in a sand-colored stock also comes in black.
There was a lot more at Crosman that I could have mentioned, but now let’s go over to the Leapers booth.
I’ve watched Leapers grow from a relatively small company back in 1998 to a major player — blasting past older, entrenched companies as they grew. This year, they were playing a video about the company on a continuous loop in their booth. I was impressed to see their plant in Livonia, Michigan, where they build airsoft guns, tactical mounts, accessories and scopes right here in the U.S. The plant is filled with many CNC machining centers and testing facilities to keep close watch over their products during development.
Leapers owner David Ding told me he wants to get control over the production process so he can assure the quality of all of his products. In keeping with that goal, I was shown the new scope line for 2012 that now offers locking target knobs on all of the upscale models. Many of them feature etched glass reticles that are amazingly crisp and sharp.
Mac was impressed by the reticle on the new 3-9x Bug Buster scope. He urged me to look through it; and when I did, I saw that the reticle is now fine and sharp — not the heavy black lines of the past.
David Ding shows me the new 3-9x Bug Buster scope (not out yet), with target knobs and a finer reticle.
But scopes were just the beginning at Leapers. Next, I was shown the whole line of tactical flashlights and lasers, including some mini lasers I will test on my M1911A1 for you. These are all made in the U.S. now and have more rugged internals, adjustments and optics than similar products from the Orient.
UTG 555 Long Range Light
One item I hope Pyramyd Air will consider stocking is a fantastic 500-lumen tactical light for law enforcement. It can be mounted on a rifle, handheld or even mounted on a bike! It comes with rechargeable lithium batteries and a smart charger…and believe me when I tell you it turns night into day!
The UTG Long Range light can go on your rifle, held in the hand or even mounted to your bike! The rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack will keep it shining at 500 lumens for 1.5 hours.
Fast Action Gun bag
Not all Leapers products are for airguns. They also make tactical and law enforcvement gear that rivals spec-built equipment but sells at a fraction the cost. As a result, many of their customers are ordering straight from the front lines of combat and from law enforcement agencies all over the country to get the products that their own supply lines cannot or will not furnish.
One of their latest developments is a Fast Action Gun bag that lets the wearer walk in public with a substantial firearm hidden from view. A quick pull of a strap, and the bag opens to reveal the weapon inside.
Leapers owner Tina Ding models their new Fast Action Gun bag. Here, it’s concealed; but she’s just pulled it over her shoulder from her back, where it looks like a tennis bag.
And in less than a second, the bag is open, giving instant access to the tactical shotgun or submachine gun inside.
Leapers has an entirely new range of quick-disconnect scope mounts coming this year, but there’s another innovation that I think you’ll find even more impressive. It’s an adapter that snaps into a Picatinny scope mount base, turning it into an 11mm dovetail. So, your conventional air rifle will now also accept Leapers Picatinny scope mounts with this adapter.
11mm-dovetail-to-Picatinny adapter is small and doesn’t raise the mount at all! This will be one to test!
Leapers is still the company to watch because the owners want to build a lasting corporation here in the U.S. They’re poised to move to the next level of quality in their optics, which gives me a lot of hope for the future — they’ve always been receptive to the needs of airgunners.
Whew! That’s a lot of products, and there are still many more to show. As I said in the beginning, there will be at least another report.
111 thoughts on “2012 SHOT Show: Part 2”
Is David Ding always that happy or he doesn’t like Mac?
Bob from Oz,
I also immediately noticed David’s expression. I think he was focusing on what Tom was saying about the new scope reticle. He’s a really nice person, and I’ve met him a couple times…and he does smile 🙂
That picture is *really* funny due to that facial expression of his. It’d be funnier if you were looking through the scope backward.
Which reminds me, I’ve gotten some good scopes with minor problems (that I’ve fixed and thus gotten a good scope), and avoided a lot of wrecked ones, by looking through ’em backward.
You can learn a lot, from looking through a scope (spotting scope, binocs…) backward!
I, for one, would love to read about what you look for when you look backwards through a scope or binocs. Put together 4-500 words and offer it as a blog to BB and Edith! You can do it in between preparing those surface mounted device circuit boards.
Bob from OZ,
That’s not Mac, it’s BB, and what he doesn’t know is that David is getting even for dissin his old fat BugBuster reticles because when he pulls the scope away from his eye it leaves one of those prank, black rings around his eye – like the prank telescopes you could buy off the back pages of commic books back “in the olden days”.
Welcome home B.B. I was awaiting with bated breath, your review of Shot Show 2012. I became re-acuanted with air guns about 3 years ago now. I now own quite a plethora of rifles and pistols. My latest accusation being an HW70 Black Arrow. It also came with a 2×20 Weihrauch scope and two piece mounts. I find the accuracy at 8 meters to be more than acceptable for me. 1/4 to 1/2 inches with 6 pellets. The advertised speed is 415 fps, however, I am getting 440 fps with 7.33 JSB RS Exacts. This is my first scoped pistol and I love it. The trigger is another story. Long first stage, and a short almost impercievable second stage. With tweaking, I made it into a decent single stage. Just can’t get rid of that long first stage. Do you or anyone have any experience with this trigger. Very Un-Weihrauch in my opinion.
By the looks of it, Crosman and Leapers are tuned into what is happening here in the real world. They will do O.K. with us little guys, if their after sales is as good. I know I will try that cool dovetail-to-picatinny mount. I think todays Blog should be required reading for the R and D people in all airgun companies. If you want to compete and have repeat customers, don’t rest on past glories. Are you listening makers of Black Arrow.
No, I don’t have any experience with the HW 70A trigger. Sorry.
Maybe one of our readers will be able to help you. I’m sure you have read the manual and followed their directions by this point, but if you even lose it, don’t forget that Pyramyd Air has a library of manuals online here:
I’d be interested in seeing you test the Benjamin MAV 77. I like under-levers. Do you have any idea what these costs?
As I mentioned in the report, but didn’t elaborate, the MAV-77 is a BAM rifle I have actually tested before in both .177 and .22. It was called the B-40. I pitted it against a TX-200 and the BAM was both faster and more accurate. The trigger is a copy of the Air Arms copy of a Rekord, but it isn’t as refined as what is in the TX.
WOW!!! I hope the MAV 77 is a faithful reproduction of the BAM rifles that you reported on before. Because if it is, then this is definitely on my short list. I didn’t make the connection because I’ve never seen, nor have heard of a BAM until reading this blog. Have any idea as to what this might cost?
Crosman is showing it with a scope for over $500. I certainly hope the street price will be lower, because that’s getting into TX-200 territory.
Yes, I recall that the trigger was super-sensitive but was compensated for by a long pull. Doesn’t sound ideal. But if that could be fixed, you could have a real winner. Even with adjustment, my B30 trigger is a little stiff, but it doesn’t interfere at all with accuracy. Nice to hear that BAM rifles are getting another chance.
I hope they come out with a .22 version. Again, if faithfully reproduced, and based on your report, this rifle is a serious tack-driver! I want one! In .22, this would likely become my favorite air-rifle.
“This year’s SHOT Show was different for me in a major way, because I saw for the first time that firearms shooters are beginning to understand airguns as never before. In the past, I always had to start my explanations with the cooling of the earth’s crust and then progress through the age of the dinosaurs because each firearms person I talked to thought of airguns as either toys or BB guns. This year, a lot of them were clued-in on what’s happening. They weren’t surprised by the accuracy we get, and they knew about big bores. A lot of them had some airgun experience and more than a few asked me the same kind of questions that I get from long-time readers of this blog.”
This is encouraging to me for several reasons. Primarily because as an old firearm shooter that discovered airguns NOT SOLD by wally world and other big box sporting goods stores can be accurate. Yes, I’m generally taliking about higher end guns. Secondly, many firearm guys in the great USA are coming to the same realization that I had to acknowledge, i.e., ammo is expensive, close shooting ranges are gone and therefor shooting in your backyard or basement is very appealing.
I have very small circle off friends. Upon reflection the reasons are that my interests are few and they all have very sharp points. In other words, I don’t have time for people that pretend to have my same interests or those that have a passing fancy in my interests. You have to have a genuine interest or a passion for the two of us to have a chance to bond. I usually have one or more things in common with my friends. Cooking, wine, hunting, hunting dogs, fishing, shooting, scotch, golf, religion, woodworking and investing.
Many of those that I’ve hunted with and/or shot with now know about my passion for airguns. Many of my friends now have at least one accurate airgun and enjoy the benefits. I’m amazed at how slow firearm shooters have been to transcend into quality airguns but am encouraged that this is changing based on B.B.’s assessment at the SHOT Show.
I’m thrilled to hear about your take on the new leapers 3-9 scope with finer reticle and mil dot. In your hands it looks to retain its’ dimunitive size. Considering the leapers TS platform this could be the scope and pricepoint I’ve been hoping for for a long time. The old bugbusters were a great value but for fine target work their reticles were about a half inch wide at 30 yards.
ps-Are you kidding me? Only one more report on the SHOT Show with all the products that were introduced? Edith, if there aren’t enough photo’s and info for at least 2 more blogs I’d wonder what these two guys were really doing in vegas. 🙂
Kevin: You make some good points ,but I have to say that some models sold by the big box stores do encourage folks ,especially kids to get interested in airguns. They can be made to shoot quite well also. Some folks on the forums even pan PA as it is really a big box store albeit an Internet version for sullying the image of the “quality ” airgun retailer. As for investing , you are right about not having a place to shoot as being the big issue for budding shooters. Land is the ultimate shooting accessory and last time I looked ,they weren’t making any more of it.
Robert, I think you’ve practically coined a B.B.-ism: “land is the ultimate shooting accessory.” Classic, and oh-so-true.
Re: “…I have to say that some models sold by the big box stores do encourage folks ,especially kids to get interested in airguns. They can be made to shoot quite well also.”
Granted. Agreed but, the typical cheap plastic guns that are sold by the big box stores have also turned off potential airgunners. When discussing airguns and their attributes I’ve had many guys say basically the same thing, “You shoot airguns? I bought one of those things years ago for my son, for a squirrel problem etc. from (insert big box name here) and it wouldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and fell apart.” More than once I’ve heard that their airgun experience ended since they assumed that all airguns are like the one they bought from the big box store.
Letting them shoot a couple of my airguns and sending them home with a full color flyer from Pyramyd Air has converted many of these folks to airgunning. Even I am continuously amazed at the new introductions for airgunners. Sure seems to me that airguns are becoming more mainstream since there’s something for everyone.
Just a warning on the reticle. It was ONLY the 3-9 that was that fine. Maybe the others will follow, but for now they remain as they were.
They all get the new target knobs, though.
How did you get a photo of Johnny Cash holding that Benjamin bottle?
Last year, when I got ready for the show, Edith and I decided a couple things. I’m old enough that I don’t have to please anyone except myself anymore. So I went cowboy casual, to avoid all the uncomfortable clothes. Now when I see men in suits with ties and women in tight dresses and heels, I pity them, because I know how they feel at the end of the day. I felt wonderful throughout the show and even after coming home. From now on give me clothes still warm from the dryer and my Sketchers and I will be a happy puppy. 😀
Before buying the MAR-177 conversion kit check with the ATF and your local law, if I remember right the ATF will concider it a fire arm if mounted on the AR lower reciever. You may have to comply with local fire arms laws to use….
Not sure I understand what you’re saying. If you have an AR-15 lower, isn’t that considered a firearm? If it is, then haven’t you already met the requirements of the ATF and any state/local laws through the purchase of the AR-15 lower?
What I think he mean (and please Mike correct me if I’m wrong) is the transportation and use of such a rifle.
It probably won’t be “legal” to shoot it in your backyard if it’s considered a firearm.
How does ATF get involved in that? That’s what threw me into the direction of my comment. ATF doesn’t get involved in the use of guns in your backyard.
It would depend on local laws. It’s certainly legal as long as you lower receiver is legal as far as the Feds go.
Yes. Local laws will determine if you can shoot it in your backyard. The ATF is out of the picture after the sale.
Yeah, I think what Mike was trying to say is check your local and federal rules, as in my case, I can shoot a bb or pellet gun in my back yard as long as it doesn’t enter or cross anothers property, or public property. However, I cannot target practice with a firearm in my backyard regardless of where it goes. If using the firearm AR lower makes it a firearm regardless of the barrel or projectile then I would be breaking some law, maybe committing a potential felony or misdemeanor at best and end up in court, regardless. This issue could be dropped on me by a disgruntled neighbor or knee jerk passer-by, especially if I lived near a school.
A quick stupid question, B.B., or any others…. are UTG and Leapers the same company? And if so, what is the difference in their products? I have Leapers and UTG scopes and thought that they were the same. And I see David Ding wearing a UTG logoed T.
Leapers is the company, and it has many brands. UTG is one of them. They also have 5th Gen, Golden Image & Accushot as brands.
Crosman does the same thing with brands like Benjamin, Sheridan & Remington. Daisy does it, too, with Avanti as a brand.
Wow… Leapers is going gang-busters! Thanks for this report, BB!
Thanks for the great report, B.B. It’s great news if Leapers is expanding their use of etched glass reticles. There’s one in my Leapers 8-32×56 scope, and it is very nice.
Speaking of the 8-32×56, I wish I had asked you before the SHOT show to ask the Leapers folks about why it was apparently discontinued. Did you happen to pick up any scuttlebutt on this? I’ve really enjoyed mine, and I’m hoping the old one is mothballed only because, say, they’re rolling out an improved replacement! I know it’s a behemoth for most uses, but I’m not sure if there is (was?) a better choice for an economical entry into Field Target
I also heard rumors that the 8-32 was cancelled, but Leapers had them in their booth. So there must be some sort of disconnect.
Thanks, B.B. I’d be very interested to hear any info on the Leapers product line that you may come across, especially about any plans to replace or not replace the 8-32. I just double-checked, and I don’t see anything like it on Leapers’ website, and Pyramyd lists it as discontinued: https://www.pyramydair.com/product/leapers-accushot-8-32x56ao-swat-rifle-scope-illuminated-mil-dot?a=2264
I know of at least three other DIFTA shooters besides myself who use this scope, and they all love ’em, and shoot pretty competitive scores relative to folks with the more traditional high-dollar stuff. Now I don’t know what to recommend to new FT shooters who are looking to enter at the lower-budget end of things!
I’ve emailed Pyramyd Air’s purchasing agent to see if he knows anything about the status.
When Leapers decides to change a product, they discontinue the old one & let their inventory run out before starting shipments on the replacement.
They did this several times when switching over from rings that had hex screws to rings that had quick-attach levers. Pyramyd Air had to stock mounts temporarily from another vendor to fill the big holes left by the discontinued items. It took a few months before the Leapers replacement inventory started to flow again. I don’t know if that’s the case with this scope.
Thanks, Edith! Fingers crossed…
I just heard back that the Leapers 8-32x56AO scope has been discontinued by Leapers, but an upgraded version is under development. Leapers expects to have inventory in March.
Thanks so much for checking, Edith. That’s encouraging news. Can’t wait to get a glimpse of the replacement model(s)…
I think I must have seen them at the show. If I had known this was a hot question I would have spent more time on that model.
I think for certain it will have target knobs and a glass etched reticle.
Silly me. Totally meant to ask you before the show, but flaked.
BB: Thank-you for mentioning to the Crosman staff that we need a new ,more adult oriented , multi-pump . I still would like a .25, but would settle for a .22 that could get into the 18 ft/lbs area and had a steel receiver that was separate from the barrel and was dovetailed. I also like the return of the B-40. I note that the price also includes a scope, where as the excellent TX doesn’t. While I usually like to buy my own scopes, I could be swayed by that. I have a couple nice airguns but most were bought BC (before children). In quality airguns , the price point of the middle of the road Dianas like the 48 and 34 are the limit for me at retail right now ,except for the occasional bargain that some fool lets go of. A new TX is just above that , and without a scope it is way beyond many budgets. Folks who have panned it on the forums recently should realize that many of us may not have a budget that would support buying a TX AND a good scope .
I too would love for Crosman to develop an adult multi-pump pneumatic rifle. It would absolutely be the bees knees for hunting! Despite years of longing for either the Discovery or Marauder (va va voom!), I have never been able to justify the startup costs for either one on my budget. Yes, I know that the Discovery is a fantastic bargain and shoots lights-out, but still it’s $400 for the gun and the pump, which I just can not do at this time. I’ve almost succumbed to the lure of the Benjamin 392 on a number of occasions, but it’s lack of a scope rail always stopped me. Sigh.
I think that’s great that more firearm shooters are discovering airguns. I think a large factor is rising costs of ammunition. When folks realize that shooting an airgun is just as fun, if not more, than a firearm and cheaper to boot- it’s kinda a no-brainer at that point.
I always stress that airguns augment firearms. They don’t replace them. I still shoot firearms, but I only shoot a couple thousand rounds a year at the range. With airguns I probably shoot more like 25K rounds a year, at least.
A reply to your question, some laws about the use of fire arms and air guns are not the same in both cases. Here in Iowa we can carry an air gun uncased in a car but not a fire arm…..with the AR lower and the Mar-177 upper you now have a fire arm….but you still can’t use it for hunting…kind of confusing and I can guess at what some other states have for regulations…best to check local laws to make sure we stay on the right side of the laws in your area. Don’t want to give the sport a bad name…..
You mentioned shooting in your backyard, yet ATF doesn’t get involved in that. Why would you check with them after you’ve bought the gun? That’s why I commented the way I did.
In the state in which I reside, no not the state of confusion, even though it may seem that way to some, but the state of Maryland, the AR is a regulated weapon and requires a back ground check to purchase each and everyone of them. It is the serial numbered part of the AR that is regulated which is the lower which is consistent with ATF regulations. Would Maryland then consider this upper attached to the AR receiver a fire arm? Who knows until the State makes a ruling.
Therefore, since it is ATF that says the serial numbered part is considered the fire arm that is the way in which the ATF is involved in this issue. When someone makes and markets a full auto pellet shooting upper, I myself would want to read the ATF ruling that states that this gun is not considered a Class Three weapon.
I live within three miles of the University of Maryland and am VERY careful how I shoot. My bench is inside the house and the back stop is in the corner of the yard. You’ll never see me standing in the yard shooting. I don’t need the possible hassle.
I just don’t know how Maryland continues to get away with its state motto of “the free state.” (Yes, I know it came about because it was the terminus for the underground railroad.) Not only isn’t it free, it’s one of the most restrictive states in the country!
When we left Maryland in 2003 and crossed the Texas state line, we both felt as though we’d been let out of prison. Not kidding.
Edith, I couldn’t agree more, but New Jersey is just across the border. I remember, in the middle 70’s, passing out of D.C. into Maryland. I was always a bit tickled. Maryland had seriously prominent signs posted that read, “The speed limit is 55 mph. No Warnings”. At times the troopers would have 20 or more cars lined up on the side of the highway waiting their turn for their ticket.
You are so right about Texas; I would not want to secede from the union but states rights do let Texas feel like “a whole other country”. Of course, the hunting lease system sews up one aspect of things, but in other ways…
Texas is not perfect and some others love to cast aspersions upon us, but we are Texas and they are not!
I am native to the state; glad you joined us. I’m near Houston and you are near Fort Worth. Heck, that’s like two different countries 🙂
Apologies, I must be tired (I couldn’t see my own post to you). I will likely retire early to night.
Best to you,
mikeiniowa, I confess I am confused about why “with the AR lower and the Mar-177 upper you now have a fire arm”. I assume you mean that the AR lower is part of a fire arm and so someone may construe the entire gun (with the Mar-177 mounted) as a fire arm. And I agree, someone may construe it that way. Certainly, without taking a closer look, someone may think they are looking at a fire arm. By the ATF definition it is not a fire arm (until you mount the rest of the fire arm sections). And that, really, is my primary concern about air guns that are made to look like well know fire arms; someone, and that may be a law enforcement personnel, may perceive it to be a fire arm.
I would definitely put it in a case for travel, for the above and a couple of other reasons. As for hunting, I don’t know. B.B.s report gave me insight into what the modification is to be used for. If it meets Olympic specifications then there is nothing I would want to hunt with it. If it is 10 meter accurate then I can see why some will pay the price for it.
As for the feel of it, I can see why someone who shoots an AR-15 of similar feel might like to keep that feel and be able to switch between air gun and powder gun. Of course, the recoil will be different, but I have read of people shooting air guns after a shoulder injury to help them return to shooting a rifle without flinching.
If you know of a specific law in your state that defines the MAR-177 as a fire arm I will like to add that to my growing list of things I don’t understand (from our various legislatures).
The upper is a 10-meter gun designed for a variation of 10-meter target shooting in World Cup and Olympic competition. Such a sport doesn’t exist yet, but Scott Pilkington and Anschutz have been pushing for it.
mike, Mr. B may have shed some light on this subject. I forgot what state you were in; stupid me; mikeiniowa is a bit of a giveaway 🙂 Anyway, I expect Iowa is similar to Maryland. Also, if the ATF declares the lower part of an AR-15 to be a weapon then, stupid or not, that is what we live with. I know the ATF declares a “sound attenuator”, “silencer” by any label with use to be a weapon which you must register to own legally.
It’s kind of like chemicals and drugs. There are many, many chemicals we encounter and even eat every day. However, a chemical is not a drug until the FDA declares it to be a drug (drugs can be controlled by law; some chemicals are banned without being declared drugs, but once declared a drug it can be sold for more and regulated. Of course, pill mills abound just the same.
Any way, I know that that although the MAR-177 is an air gun; I also know that reality and the law are not always in agreement.
Mike, I don’t see the second reply I made to you and I think it important that I find a way to write you. I may have triggered some homeland security alarm but that was not my intent. Without discussing the ATF too much, the FDA, the law, reality and sanity….here is the sanitized version.
It seem that Mr. B. shed some light on the subject. If the ATF declares your water hose nozzle to be a weapon, then it is a weapon, not by law but by decree.
Good shooting to you,
P.S. I am not for anarchy, just rational law.
Your reply got caught in the spam filter for some odd reason. Don’t know why. I approved it.
Thank you, Edith. I suppose the spam filter is not as sophisticated as “the machine” on “Person of Interest” (assuming there is a machine). I like the show despite the premise; in a it reminds me of “The Equalizer”, a series that started off kind of goofy but matured rapidly. I liked Edward Woodard in that part. I first saw him in “Breaker Morant”.
That’s Edward Woodward; do your research before you click submit!!!!
“Breaker Morant” is one of my all-time favorite movies. It has the esteemed place on two of my mental lists of movies: top 5 war films and top 5 legal thrillers. Great movie.
Agreed! Yes; Rule 303. And remember, when the commandos breach the walls it’s too late to surrender.
I’m thinking that although I am not attempting to, I may be posting past PG-13 somehow.
Ok. I’ve just spent 30 mins. going through the list that forces comments into the spam folder. I don’t see anything that would have affected your comment. Nevertheless, I’ve made some significant changes to the list. Let’s see if you still get put in the stockade after this 🙂
LOL! Thanks, Edith.
These products sound and look great. I totally need that leapers picatiny to 11mm dovetail adapter.
Crosman says MSRP of 530$ in the press release right here:
IMHO it’s too expensive BUT it does come with a scope so maybe something can be done.
I hope the cocking aid for the Trail NP pistol is to help younger shooters and that it does take a gorilla to cock it.
The M4-177 is coming to Canada! I’m not a big fan of multi pumps but I WILL get this one. It’s inexpensive and fun to shoot and it looks much better than a 760.
And that gorgeous Tokarev pistol will be mine!
That large Benjamin tank seems like a good buy too, getting a very different shape was a great idea, it would probably save a lot of explaining when going to a diver shop to get a refill.
So we are at report number 2 and my shopping list already has, an adapter, one rifle and two pistols… my heart is screaming “I WANT MORE”, but my head (and wallet) are saying “quit it you fool” wonder which one I will follow 😉
Unless the scope it comes with is wonderful, that price will kill most of the sales. This rifle needs to retail for $350 by itself and let the buyer pick his own scope.
But Crosman does have Centerpoint scopes, so if they will mount a nice 3-9X50 Centerpoint on the MAV instead of the 32mm scope they announced, it could work.
Concerning the “more” that you fear, the report isn’t over yet. Even Gamo has some interesting things to consider this year.
It promises to be a long, interesting year for airgunners.
I’m already salivating…
OT…what do you guys use to treat and care for your wood stocks, if anything.
Though I’ve had no issues so far, where I live the humidity in winter is brutally dry. Even though I have a humidifier in my den, I noticed a couple of fine cracks in one of our guitars this past weekend.
Is there a prefered product, or just a wipedown with linseed oil.
Linseed oil can take a while to dry, even where I live and can get sticky our gummy. Colorado is pretty dry. Tung oil is good, dries pretty quickly and builds into a nice polish after many coats. Lemon oil smells nice and dries fast, but is more of a solvent. Others may have some other suggestions, but I favor the tung oil for oiled stocks. Varnished, lacquered and urethaned wood I don’t worry about.
Cowboystar dad. I live in the Okanagan and it is extremely arid here in the winter and summer. I also have a Martin and a Taylor guitars. The only thing I found that stopped the wood from cracking was a good humidifier. I evan used one when I lived on the coast in Vancouver. They do sell little ones that fit inside a case or in the sound hole, however , I found a good room humidifier to be the answer to my cracking problems. Hope this helps.
Titus..so the guitar is a Seagul (quite nice…wish I knew how to play the damn thing 😉 )
So it developed a hairline crack running from the back of the sounhole to the back of the guitar.
Is sounds the same…and if I gently apply pressure the crack doesn’t seem to move or flex.
Is this something I need to address?
Can I do something myself (like spreads some high quality woodglue into the crack).
Or is it okay to leave as is.
One “hillbilly” repair is to take expoxy glue and mix in some sawdust of the kind and color you need, and put that into the crack.
I’ve seen a whole free pistol grip made out of sawdust and epoxy. It was fun watching the thing get made.
Why was I thinking it was an electric?
I’d take it to a luthier.
Whoops, I must have missed the part where you said you have a humidifier in your den. I don’t use anything on my instruments, so I don’t have any other recommendations.
O.K., I just received your reply. It doesn’t sound too serious, however, If you value the instrument,and who doesn’t?, take it to your local music (guitar) store and let their technician look at it. Most good music stores have quality repairmen working in house. Good luck.
Guitars are usually sprayed with laquer. A professional should address the crack.
As for your gunstocks and what to use it depends on the type of wood and type of finish on the wood. What do you have?
Primarily I would be concerned about my Avanti 853c, Slavia 631 and the boys R.R.
If your 631 has the same stock as my 634 it’s a boring piece of walnut with a sprayed poly finish. The inletting was dry and the wood under the buttplate was also dry. I sealed the wood with waterlox sealer (2 light coats), then applied two coats of waterlox satin followed by mahoneys walnut wax. Leaving these areas unfinished is why many stocks continue to dry and ultimately crack. Not much you can do to the exterior poly finish.
I’m not familiar with the type of wood or the type of finish on your avanti or RR.
Cowboystardad – funny you should ask! I have a 100-year-old “banker’s chair” the big heavy hummah with a million adjustments all done in heavy iron, knurled knobs, etc. the old wooden battleship is the most comfortable chair I’ve owned. But, old-type casters were eating my floor! Then one got loose and would come off occasionally! I got ticked one day and threw the chair out the door (didn’t hurt it) and got modern casters and installed ’em, it will never be a modern 5-leg chair in the “easy rolling” dept but it’s usable again and isn’t eating my floor. Since I was overhauling its casters, involving digging the old ones out and drilling the holes out, filling in gaps with J-B Wood etc, I decided to also refinish it – by slathering on some Thompson’s Water Seal. Thompson’s is an oil-type preparation, and made the chair look beautiful instantly. I was also afraid to sit on it, thinking it would oil-up my clothes, so I put a white towel on it, and after a week felt brave and took that off, no stains on the towel! Hmm!
The Thompson’s label says to not paint with oil-based paint after treating with Thompson’s for 30 days! I’m thinking, Thompson’s and wait 30 days then if you want a nice outer coat use some Tru-Oil, which is great stuff – you almost rub it in, many thin coats.
Getting closer to home for most here, I now have a motorcycle again, a 1996 Kawasaki ZL600. I was getting by on an (ugh!) Honda 250 Rebel for a few years, then sold that and went bike-less for about a year and a half I think. Maybe closer to 2 years. So I find this thing on Craig’s List, Hmm, only 1 inch higher seat than the old Rebel (I’m short) shaft drive so no constant chain maintainence. and it’s a descendant of the old GPz550 I used to go everywhere on years ago. Just the test ride on the thing beat me up good! I was sore in places I didn’t know I had places! Maybe 100lbs heavier than a Honda Rebel and … 4X the horsepower! Also, this bike has been “leaned on” and is loud, basically the same as my old GPz, been souped up a bit, and it may be much cheaper to fine-tune the soup-up job than “soup it down”.
Since it has no fairing, it’s very uncomfortable to ride above about 45MPH, so I realized I had to round up a fairing first. Narrow drag-style bars on it make it hard to install a lot of fairings, but my local shop owner had a fairing I could have for $10 if I could make it work. Well, I made it work. What made it work was, I needed spacer blocks and to mount it to the headlight/turn signal brackets. Engine-mount rubber would have been ideal, but I hunted around here and found … .a chunk of walnut a friend of mine got years ago to make a gun stock, never did, and passed on to me. So, making a template and sawing and drilling ….. the stuff is tuff! I finally got a couple of spacer blocks worried out and today I put the fairing on the bike, thanks to them and some quality time cutting rubber “fender washers” to go with metal fender washers. I then did the “buy a beer at Johnny’s” test. It involves riding out to Hollister, and I did it in a cool way, found a windy, wind-y, road with plenty of cross-winds and trucks pushing bow-waves of air, to go out then partook of the freeway coming back, and the bike passed with flying colors. The Guinness at Johnny’s was dee-licious, MMA on the teevee and a fascinating story being told at the bar about people tearing apart tables and going at each other with the table legs.. .. it’s a mellow place, really!
I have possibly the only gunstock-walnut mounted fairing! And the blocks are really kinda pretty and should stay so thanks to Thompson’s.
I have no idea if Thompson’s is good for guitars. Guitars are a whole different level. If I were you I might look up what people are using on the stocks of their $20,000 Paparazzi shotguns and go with that. People who play cellos are also worried about humidity levels, you might look up what they’re doing. It might turn out you use pure walnut oil (throw raw walnuts in a Cuisinart, rub the resulting mush on your wood) or something.
Yay! No more car pooling to the mountains in good weather!!!
Well, the car pool thing is strange. When it was proposed, the engineer and his wife were using the business owner’s Lincoln town car, and thus if the owner proposed they take me along, well, it’s his car, he sort of has a say. But right when I was hired, they’d just bought a truck. So, I car-pooled once in the truck, and it was a grueling day. First, I was ready to go at 8 or 9 in the morning, they picked me up at 10, we headed up into the mountains then they got a call from the boss and we had to turn around and go pick up some parts in Sunnyvale. Did I mention that first after picking me up we stopped at Jack In The Box for breakfast croissants and other gunk, that seems to be part of their morning ritual. $20 worth of junque food. OK then after getting parts it’s back up the mountain, and buckled down and did our 8 hours of work, actually 9 for them and the boss was gonna chalk up 9 for me but I said “felt like 8 to me” so 8. Then the long ride home but we had to stop for something I forget what. Oh yes, and on the way in, the engineer had to stop for his $9 pack of Camels at the mini-mart across from the Summit Road House.
So it’s being “on” for a good 12 hours to work 8, and really, right now, apparently the boss wants me to work more like 4 or 6 hours. It’s kind of a grueling process, and car-time is often the time a husband and wife get to really talk about stuff.
I proposed to the boss that I simply borrow the Lincoln Town Car and keep it down here, use it for rainy days and maybe the occasional errand, and the way I take care of stuff, esp. other people’s stuff, he’ll get it back washed, waxed, fluids changed, and really spiffy. But he wants it back for a spare in case his main car (which I think is some kind of a hellacious sports car) lets him down.
Fortunately my work hours are during the day, I was going to EMT school winter before last from 6-10PM and if it threatened rain I’d borrow my friend’s car and I ended up doing so a lot.
Now, they’re all working their butts off to get this project back onto schedule, and the engineer and his wife are putting in something like 12-hour days. I have a feeling dragging me along is just too much. So, right now it’s ride the bike or I can borrow my friend’s car. I actually plan to get a 4-wheeled vehicle fairly soon, and I’m really thinking I should have gotten one instead of this bike.
For the time being though I have a workable fairing and getting a *little* wet is OK in my book. I will probably just go ahead and order a National Cycle Plexifairing or Plexistar or whatever they call it, because seeing one on a bike, it’s not bad and has hand protection which saves me $40 for “winter” gloves which I don’t like as much anyway.
As for a jacket I might just go back to one of those “fonzie” things, I’d wear one of those before I’d wear one of those nylon horrors they’re selling these days.
congratulations on the fairing! Makes a major difference, especially in the winter, doesn’t it? If those handlebars don’t quite fit your body, go back to your store and ask if they’ve recently replaced bars from crashed or dropped bikes. Used to be the stores would straighten them but that art (and tool – yes Harley used to sell a tool for just than back in the 60’s and earlier) is no longer made/ practiced. The shops replace the bars. But you can get another set of bars that might be more comfortable for you and can easily be straightened via monkey wrench technology (wrap the jaws so you don’t destroy the chome plating on the bars).
As for the gunstock mount, if you get tired of that funky look, a simple rattle can of black paint will quickly dress the mount up and make it look like it belongs on the bike.
I’m *proud* of my fine American Walnut fairing parts! I love how the Thompson’s brings out the wood grain.
As mentioned above I’m probably going to order a proper fairing “fairly” haha, soon. The National Cycle fairing I have in mind looks about as sexy as a safety vest in the catalogs but in real life, looks pretty neat and, according to a guy at Hollister Honda who commutes to/from Los Banos every day on his bike with one, works great.
Of course I can say this because I’ve got equipment to sell and so I’ve got money coming in. If I had to be Der Thriftmeister, I’d keep this fairing, look for a jacket at garage sales, etc. I actually have some used motorcycle boots I got at the local Goodwill for $15, and I may just get geared up that way, keep looking at Craig’s List etc., some nice stuff shows up if one is patient.
I have some “winter” stuff I no longer use. Send me your address at email@example.com and I’ll send it to you.
I’m actually set for stuff, thanks.
It’s exciting that more people are becoming aware of airguns. It’s also disappointing that will be guying the wrong guns and that they will not have the information of an old Beeman or ARH catalog ahead of time. The positive thing to me is that in a few years from now there may again be enough demand for better quality springers from the percentage of new shooters who keep up the hobby.
Does Texas happen to be one of the states contacting you? I sure wish they would allow small game and even deer hunting with airguns.
I haven’t heard from Texas yet, but with the exotic game ranches and the wild pig problem, there are plenty of opportunities to hunt big game in the Lone Star State. Also, you can go out to the Panhandle and shoot all the prairie dogs and jackrabbits and coyotes you want.
Don’t be shy about showing the cool firearms and accessories from the SHOT show if you have the material, possibly in a separate report. I’m certain most of your readers would be just as interested in that stuff.
You must be like a kid in a candy store at these events. I hope you and Mac enjoyed yourselves.
I’ll second that request!
Well, the coolest handgun I tested was the Chiappa revolver – the one that looks like it’s made upside-down. Man is that thing easy to shoot double-action! It’s also a natural pointer.
On the other hand, the Chiappa Little Sharps was a disappointment for me. It’s in .17 Hornet — a useless cartridge if ever there was one, and the headspace was too great.
I also admired the Springfield Armory XDM compact pistol. In .45 ACP, this little pistol had none of the bite that compact .45s usually have.
I recently bought 2 Chiappa guns – low-buck guns – their 1911-22 and SAA 1873, both replica’s in .22LR. The revolver in particular has a pot-metal quality to it (because, well, it IS pot-metal) but both do shoot quite well.
There is now a Chiappa M9 that’s new this year. Looks like an M9 but chambered for .22LR. Same-same as the 1911.
The Rhino type revolver is the interesting thing. Recoil is still, so I don’t advise shooting .357 Mag. in it, but .38 Special would be fine. I shot a new one chambered for .40 S&W, and even though that is a lower-powered round, I still felt the recoil.
Perhaps they should try one in .32 H&R Mag.?
I’ve seen some Chiappa firearms and some of the replicas of older guns really look good… in pictures anyway an online store who only sells airguns and blank firing guns for the moment want to try .22 firearms and top end airsoft guns too. Chiappa would probably be is first manufacturer as they are inexpensive and seem to look pretty good.
You can count me in for a SHOT show firearm blog, new products in anything gun related is always nice.
Yes, it’s been my sense that the firearms community is coming around. There has been Jim Shockey, the professional hunter, pulling for airguns. And in the 2011 Gun Digest book, there was a substantial article on airguns. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Tom Gaylord in there; it was done by another Tom. But they’re on the right track. The advance seems to be proceeding on appeal for hunters, the AR-15 lookalike and tactical equipment, and word-of-mouth. It’s a nice development.
Tell me that Leapers locking knobs do not still require an Allen wrench! 🙂 I was going to ask why anyone would want a fast gun bag to whip out a tactical shotgun, but I see there is a law-enforcement and military market. 🙂
PeteZ, the German gunmaker is Uli Weigand. Yes, it is a little unusual for German gunmakers to relocate here. The story is that he and his brother got interested in building AKs and a consulting firm showed them that it was worth their while to relocate to the U.S., North Carolina specifically. They started the Interordnance Company, and tried to run it from afar, but things did not work out. Their business started by importing foreign parts like from Romania and reassembling them, and they fell afoul of the ATF and were charged extensively for importing machine guns and other illegalities. Partly because of the time spent resolving that, their company which was being run remotely got into very shoddy practices. You’ll find some of the most ferocious criticism out there on the internet, and when Uli showed up himself to inspect, he was appalled. So, he decided to relocate and run thing in person, scrap all the foreign importations, and manufacture all the AK parts in-house; the oddly named Hellhound tactical rifle is one of the results. So, in terms of purchasing risk, their products seem to be on the fence. Do you write them off because of their bad history? Or is this one of those cases where a company is really cleaning up their act? I say that it’s the latter–a case of “buy low” because they offer very competitive prices to try to reestablish themselves. But I’m not going to be buying anyway, just admiring.
All right, had the baked and sauteed potatoes last night. Outstanding. I’ll admit that there was a failure of nerve, and I smothered them with butter and spices. As I found from watching the show, Iron Chef, the sign of a good cook is to use spices to draw out the natural taste rather than smother it. But at least my version would be good for survival food. I was reading a survival book and their preparations for the kind of food you would get from nature with their stewing, baking, roasting and pureeing actually sounded kind of tasty. Also, I notice a new level of energy compared to my largely processed diet…
Thanks for the info about steel cased ammo in Hawaii 5-0. So the stuff does exist. Now, for a greater mystery. What is with McGarrett’s hair? I thought for awhile that it was his own distinctive look. But then my Dad tells me that those long sideburns are from Elvis which was a popular look at the time. McGarrett as Elvis?!!! Seems improbable, but as I look more, I believe it’s true.
The new Leapers knobs are locked via a ring at the base of the knob. No tools needed.
I may be the only one, but I prefer the wrench-locking knobs. Not that I don’t appreciate a tool-less solution, but the ring-locking system on my 8-32 is just not positive enough. It spins with almost no resistance when unlocked, and it can drift way too easily from ‘unlocked’ to ‘locked’, and it’s not that much more stable if you want it to stay in the ‘locked’ position. The ideal would be a tool-less system that reliably stays put like the older allen-wrench system. I wonder if the newer locking rings are any better (or if mine is a poor example).
I personally have no use for locked-down turrets. When I’m not clicking, I don’t see any real risk of accidentally moving the knobs. The clicks are positive and meaty. And if you’ve zeroed your knobs, even an accidental move would be easy to detect and correct. And of course when I AM clicking, I want to reach up and adjust the elevation, without fussing with an unintentionally-half-locked knob.
B.B., I really appreciate you description of the MAR-177. It does change my perspective a bit. During basic, I shot 5000 rounds through an M-16 (that what they told me anyway). I loved every minute on the range (just wish I could have gotten a handle on the 300 yard targets), but I have no desire to have an airgun that looks like an M-16 or any other powder gun. That is, unless it has some truly functional value, and you described what that functionality is for the MAR-177. Thanks.
I am excited about the Leapers scope mount adapter.
I have been cocking the barrel breakers some, while I still can.
In brief, I will express my admiration that you are able to do so much background work and then produce so many cogent and informative posts and articles. As I wrote Edith a few days ago, I opened Shotgun News while waiting for a prescription, just to see if you had an article in it. You did, a review of the TalonP, in which you made note of two .25 caliber pellets that may be useable.
And yes, you do look like a different person (but that is from the outside; I suspect you are still very much you). On that syllogistic note I’ll bid you, “hasta la luego”.
5000? You sure you don’t mean 500? I wonder …. it seems like a lot. Maybe 500. AT 5000 you’d have gotten a handle on those 300-meter targets for sure. I guess I went through what could be called Reagan Basic, we got a lot of trigger time but not no case, more like a brick. If they’re training people now at 5000 rounds per trainee, well, we’re probably turning out some really good shooters.
did you get to shoot the LAW? That thing was fun!
flobert, it is entirely possible that my memory is failing. However, I can truthfully say that I shot a good deal more than 500 rounds. This included some night fire training, using full auto bursts complete with tracers. I was downcast that I wasn’t able to hit more 300 yard targets. I will have to say that I am sure I shot 2000 rounds or more. I honestly think 5000 was the number given, but I am willing to believe my memory is somewhat faulty. My basic training was in March and April of 1973.
I did fire the law and I fired the M79 grenade launcher (which I just loved; it was New Year’s and the 4th of July rolled into one :). Spent a little time on the M2 .50 caliber machine gun.
It was 2 years more before the fall of Saigon(not that anyone knew this at the time) and they wanted to acquaint us with a variety of weapons. We saw a Claymore demonstration but never set one off otherwise. We spent time disassembling and reassembling the M16, and setting up and packing up the Claymore.
About the Claymore, there were four platoons (of course) in our company. My platoon’s top drill sergeant was considered the hardest of all the instructors by the guys in the other three platoons. It is true that Irby was tough, but it is also true that those directly under him came first. When he was in charge, our platoon came first in every way, whether good or bad. Drill Sergeant Irby didn’t just tell us how to polish that old barracks floor; he got on his hands and knees and lead us through it. One day we had just finished setting up a Claymore and after our set up was inspected we packed it up again. Drill Sergeant Irby came by. He looked at me and then he just pointed down with his finger. I looked down and there on the ground was a small piece that I failed to notice. I uttered a mild expletive of shock and disappointment. Irby looked at me and said, “It’s alright Holmes, I know you can do it”. This was in our 5th or 6th week of basic. As long as my brain functions I expect to remember that moment.
Anyway, the word thousand is still imbedded in my mind; I’ll defer to you regarding how many thousand rounds I fired. I enjoyed going to the range and I enjoyed the heck out of Escape and Evasion (not that I would enjoy it is a real situation). One guy of our 3 man team took off to play Lone Ranger. The other was ready to follow my lead. At one point we were hiding under a bush; three drill sergeants stopped so close to us I could have reached out and touch one of them. I must confess, however, that they we preoccupied with the aroma of marijuana and they were trying to locate the source. So I had them at an unfair advantage at the moment. We made it to our goal in time to be on the first truck back to our bivouac area (the reward was chicken soup for the first group). I was scolded for losing the the one fellow, but to this day I know of no way to deal with a rogue while you have another who needs someone to lead them. Dealing with the rogue would have ended with all three of us spending time in the POW camp that night. I was determined to avoid that (no chicken soup for those guys). Of course, this POW camp was different from our primary POW training (now, that was a trip).
The last thing I’ll address is the vending machine cage that was obviously place just across the street from our company area to entice us. A few times, after lights out, I would become obsessed with having a coke to drink. I would dress, carefully avoid the fire guard and CQ and make my way to the vending machine cage. One time, two MP’s patrolling in their car stopped even with the cage. The one even shined his spot light at the cage. I was sitting on the ground where no one could see me unless they came into the cage. When the spot light was shining on the cage, all I could think at the time was, “I’m not a quail and I will not be flushed.” The MP’s never got out of the car. When I thought they we far enough away, I made my way back to bed (completely satisfied that I had successfully fed my addiction).
Well, Mr. flobert, your comment and question has left me unsure of how many rounds I actually fired, but also led to my thinking about other aspects of my basic training experience. My understanding is that it was less stressful than in year past. I don’t know how it has been in the years since, although I am concerned about the number of suicides and some homicides as well, and issue like PTSD. Until I did some research I didn’t understand why my wife’s cousin wouldn’t talk about his experience on the DMZ in Korea. I can only wonder what he saw and what he may have had to do. He has coped and continues to live a good life, but I expect he still has dreams and memories that sometimes invade his mind. As you know, not all wounds are visible.
Looks like I couldn’t find the “s” key, among other things. Apologies for the typos.
flobert, I wrote you an overly long reply that appears to have be snared by the spam assassin. So the short version is:
My memory may be faulty and I may have shot fewer rounds than I remember. However, the word thousand is definitely a part of the truth, whether 1000 or 2000 (which I believe is the fewest I believe we may have shot). At any rate, I defer to you and 5000 may be to high (but 500 is too low).
I did fire a law (very impressive) and I did fire the M79 grenade launcher (New Year’s Eve and the fourth of July rolled into one), as well as a number of rounds through an M2 .50 caliber machine gun.
Have a good one,
If those targets were set at 300 meters, perhaps I was aiming for 300 yards 🙂
Actually, I listened carefully to the DI’s explanation of how the bullet behaved and where to aim for the various distances. I did alright out to 250 but the 300 eluded me. That caused me to receive less that the highest marksmanship medal. I can’t complain too much; I hadn’t shot many rounds previously; not even from .22 cal.
A few years later I was into field archery with a passion. I also discovered spring air guns.
Your story sounds familiar. If you took Basic in the 1960s or early ’70s, the M16 had a 1:12 twist and was not stable to 300 yards. I was taught to shoot into the dirt in front of the target to shower the target with dirt and stones, making it fall. It was the only way to shoot Expert, because the M16 could not hit a target at that range reliably.
We used the Saab targets that fell if they vibrated from bullets passing through the plastic silhouette, so if there were a lot of holes, your bullet would pass through and not register — if you managed to get it on target!
B.B., it was only this past year that I read about the 1:12 twist. Do you remember all of the discussions about the M16 and the damage the tumbling bullet could do. All of the discussion was an essential rationalization about the bullet behavior. We were informed by some that this was by design.
Full disclosure does demand that I tell you the D.I.’s did talk about hitting the target with dirt. They said, “if you fill your enemy’s eyes with dirt you have taken him out of the game for at least a while”.
I appreciate what you are saying; I just failed to kick up enough dirt or kick it up in the right spot.
But yeah, I’m still disappointed that I couldn’t achieve expert (but I don’t lose sleep over it).
On the other hand, while I was in basic there were two tragedies at Fort Polk. One involved grenade throwing. The trainee dropped the grenade after pulling the pen; he panicked and ended up blocking the D.I. from kicking the grenade into the chamber below. Both were killed.
The other incident involved cleaning a .50 cal that turned out to have a loaded cartridge in the chamber. The bullet ricocheted off the walls and one bullet wounded four people. All survived this one.
On the battlefield not shooting expert might make a difference, during basic it only cost me the medal I wanted.
Yes, I do remember the lies they told us about the twist rate. I was a shooter at that time, so I didn’t buy it.
BTW: We had rain in the spring in south LA. I wasn’t overly pleased with the jamming that occurred in even a light rain. I was left wondering about fellows that were using the M16 in combat. But they were still better than the B.B. guns the army used for quick kill training.
Thanks for the explanation about the 10 mm upper. You did say that in your original post but I failed to comprehend. I bring this up here because I was thinking the upper would make a good QK training gun (far more realistic, although I expect the Daisy B.B. guns cost less).
If the MAV 77 sells well I hope it does not force Air Arms to reduce the quality of the TX 200 (with the hope of holding down price) to keep pace!!
But maybe it would make them lower their prices WITHOUT lowering the quality.
I know I’m late to the conversation but I hope it’s not too late to respond to this:
“The demographic of a new airgunner is a man (usually) in his late 20s to late 40s who is most likely a fan of AR-type rifles and Glock-type pistols. He wants repeaters, semiautos and he thinks that a five-shot group is the gold standard of any gun. Velocity impresses him, and he isn’t comfortable with the term kinetic energy.
Things like good triggers and good sights are not an issue with this customer until he experiences bad ones. His ARs have decent triggers off the rack, and he can choose from many drop-in triggers that are much better. When he encounters a spring-piston gun with a horrible trigger that cannot be easily modified, he’s surprised.
He does not use the artillery hold, and he equates all airguns to be alike in terms of performance. When he learns about precharged guns, he’s put off by the additional equipment he must buy. Spring-piston guns seem the best to him for their simple operation, and he doesn’t appreciate the fact that they’re also the most difficult airguns to shoot well.
That’s the customer who’s coming to airguns today, so that’s the person airgun manufacturers have to deal with. If you have wondered why many of the new airguns are what they are — this new-customer profile is the reason.”
I am that person B.B. is talking about for the most part, with a few exceptions-yes, I like AR’s and Glocks, and yes, in searching for a suitable airgun I prefer semi-autos. However I am EXTREMELY picky about sights and, having developed the perfect hand loads for each of my firearms, I am of course interested in energy-albeit with a view towards the type of prey I may be after rather than simply aiming for the highest readings I can get. A well-tuned trigger is normally the second thing I look for after sights but to be honest, (and I know this is going to sound strange) aesthetics play a huge roll in my purchasing decisions. A poor trigger can be fixed, but ugly is forever. To my eye a beautifully crafted precision firearm is a work of art and frankly I’m not finding many examples in the airgun world that meet my (admittedly high) standards. I find guns like the FWB 700 or Air Arms EV2 simply hideous to look at, and most of the replica pieces that interest me are crudely made and far from precision.
As for PCP’s, well….the whole point in making this transition is to SAVE money. Peripherals that must be lugged around or weekly trips to the scuba shop are not going to attract those of us looking for alternatives to burning powder. Nor is the cost of these ‘add-ons,’ which is often more than the gun itself! When you say that ‘many of the new air guns are what they are’ due to this ‘new customer profile’ I have to wonder if the manufacturers really have any idea at all what potential customers want. As far as I can tell single shot rifles make up the majority of the current offerings with PCP’s being the relative newcomer, and, as the target demographic, I can assure you neither is what we want.
Its not fair, we cant do anything like this in England….
BB Pelletier .
I have been wondering what type is the rifle you are presented in the picture . I would like to know so to prepare one for myself . I have not been able to distinguish it due to the fast and short presentation . Could You please get the info to my mail , i will be most great full . Plus i was thinking on an Air Force Condor SS in .22 cal. with a spare 24 in. .177 barrel for the plinkin and target .
William US Army Ret.
I don’t understand the question. I am not being presented with any rifles in the photos, above. There are five rifles pictured above. Each one is identified by the caption below the photo.
As far as the AirForce Condor goes, I like it very much and would say go for it! It’s a wonderful airgun.
And welcome to the blog.