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Making your first deal

by B.B. Pelletier

I’m going to Leapers today through the end of the week to research an article for Shotgun News and also for this blog. I’ll ask the veteran readers to help those new readers who have questions, because I won’t be able to read my mail except for a brief time in the morning. On to today’s report.

I always enjoy hearing from new airgunners, because their questions remind me that we haven’t covered every subject yet. And we probably never will. Some subjects we have covered several times and still people are asking questions.

But it’s extremely difficult to write about a subject that nobody will ever bring up. Hence, today’s report.

I had a table at a gun show last weekend with a friend whom I happen to know goes ga-ga over all lever-action rifles. Another gunsmith acquaintance of mine stopped by my table and dropped off his Winchester 94 angle eject that he had refinished with fire-blued screws and had re-casehardened the lever, hammer and trigger. It was a strikingly beautiful gun; and because it’s an angle-eject model, you can mount a scope directly on top of the action. Most Winchester 94s have to have their scopes offset to the left because they eject the empties straight up and back, but this rifle comes from the factory pre-drilled for scope rings directly on top of the receiver.

Now, Lever Man’s wife is sitting in the booth with him, and she also likes the look of the pretty Winchester. In fact, she asks him to buy it — first for himself; and when he refused, for her! Then she recounted the litany of reasons why he should buy the gun. First, they both hunt hogs, and he’s missed several with his open-sighted 94. This one can take a scope mounted in the right place. Second, this rifle is beautiful! Doesn’t he want it on that basis, alone? Third, once he acquires this rifle, he can sell his other 94 or give it to her. She really wants a 94 of her own. I mean, come on, boys — short of a wifely directive, that’s about as good an offer as you’re likely to get!

But he says no. You can look in his eyes and see a big old, “Yes,” but he has programmed himself to say, “No” so many times that the programming overrides rationality. I know this scene must make our UK cousins tear their hair out in anguish!

Okay, so you guys are probably guessing that cash is the problem, but it isn’t. Lever Man has just put a Benjamin, a Grant and several Jeffersons in his pocket (for our friends outside the U.S. that’s about $200). And he knows where he can get the rest. The pretty rifle has an asking price of $450, which is reasonable. Money isn’t holding him back. What holds him back is plain old inertia. The resistance of a body at rest that won’t move unless acted upon by an overwhelming outside force. To put it plainly, he doesn’t like to make deals because he isn’t exactly sure of himself.

I’m a casual observer to this drama, which is to say, a first-class facilitator. Veteran readers of this blog know I’m being honest about this. I’m trying to get the deal done, simply because I know that all parties want to do it. I comment to my other gun buddy that this really needs to happen and he agrees, but he also knows that Lever Man moves like a glacier. The odd thing is that Lever Man is here at this gun show to watch me and my gun buddy wheel and deal! He wants to get involved in gun trading like us.

How bad can it be?
Let me tell you exactly how bad. At another gun show two weeks earlier, the three of us were cruising the aisles and Lever Man picks up a Weaver K10-T, which is a vintage steel El Paso-made Weaver target scope in perfect working condition. It has a price of $25 on the tag, which is about $100 less than what it is worth. Lever Man is standing in the aisle like a chained elephant, rocking back and forth and lamenting over the fact that he isn’t going to buy this scope! Not that he can’t buy it, mind you — that he ISN’T going to buy it. That’s a big difference. He knows he should and he knows the deal is good; he just won’t pull the trigger. This is IN SPITE of the fact that he just sold two other vintage scopes of far less value two weeks earlier at another gun show, and he knows very well what this one is worth.

He puts it down and says to me, “I’m not going to buy that, but I probably should — huh?”


Well, I couldn’t let it pass, so I bought it — not out from under him, but because he wasn’t going to act on a great buy, and I wasn’t going to let it get away. Sometimes, I do find good deals on my own; but when they walk up and jump in my lap like this, I’m embarrassed by how easy it is. Lever Man should have made the deal. Then he could have sold the scope for $100 (still a great price) at the next show and been that much closer to the pretty Winchester lever-action we both know he’ll eventually own.

It just so happens that Edith was also present when all this happened and she was witness to everything, so you can ask her how it went. I bought that scope simply because it was too good a deal to pass up.

Why aren’t they pulling the trigger?
I understand having trepidation about making a deal because…what if you’re wrong? Speaking as someone who has been really wrong at times, I can tell you that it doesn’t hurt you permanently and even makes you a little wiser in the end. Someday, maybe I’ll share several of my own bonehead deals, so you can see just how screwed up someone can be. For now, you’ll have to trust me: We all make mistakes. But not acting when there’s a great deal to be made is a very big mistake, and it’s potentially preventing some people from ever enjoying this hobby as much as they could.

Begin with experience
It costs noting to get smart on your hobby. You do that right here on the internet, doing the things you’re already doing, only in a more calculated way. As an example, what if you were to go to a garage sale this weekend and see a Crosman 160 that looks like the one I’ve been reviewing for you? You would know that it’s potentially a very nice air rifle — no? But there is also a lot that you wouldn’t know.

You wouldn’t know if it still holds CO2 by just looking at it. You wouldn’t know if the barrel is a good one, though a bore light would reveal the condition of the rifling. And there could always be a problem somewhere down deep in the mechanism that might slip past a cursory examination. BUT — what if the asking price was only $20? That would leave enough money in the budget for a rebuild and some repairs and you could still sell the gun for — ??? Well, how much is it worth, anyway? You probably don’t know, because I didn’t tell you.

Believe it or not, you already have enough information to buy a gun like that and make money, three times out of four. And the fourth time? Well, that’s where experience comes in. You spent $20 for a lesson on the Crosman 160. If you keep at it and buy the next 160 you see, you’ll soon be very proficient in not only Crosman 160s, but also 180s, as well. And you’ll own some classic airguns in the process.

What NOT to do
Whatever you do, don’t stuff money in your pocket and go out looking for bargains like this. That is a sure way to lose! Instead, tuck that money into a hidden compartment in your wallet; and when you stumble across a real bargain, it’ll jump out and grab you by the collar! That’s the bargain to act upon!

Don’t be picky
Some of you are thinking, “I don’t like guns like the Crosman 160. I would never buy one, no matter how cheap it was.” If that’s you, sir, you’re missing out on how this thing works.

I personally dislike shotguns with prejudice. I own a few, but they leave me cold. And I’m the world’s worst shotgunner, so there’s a reason to feel as I do. But if a Belgian-made Browning Auto-5 in perfect condition walked up to me at a gun show and the guy told me he really needed $400 for it, I would hand the gun to a shotgunning buddy for his opinion. If it was good, I would buy that gun, then resell it (probably at the same gun show) at a $200-300 profit. How much I made would be determined by how long I cared to own the Browning.

I use this example because this exact thing happened to me at a gun show a couple years ago. I didn’t have the cash to act, but I certainly would have if I could have.

The final example
A week ago, I met a fellow at the local Cabela’s parking lot to look at an original plains rifle he wanted to sell. I really wanted the gun and agreed to a price as long as it was consistent with the photos he’d sent me. Well, it wasn’t. He failed to show me some severe eroding around the nipple that made the gun unsafe to shoot, in my opinion. When we disassembled the gun for a better look at the breech, we both discovered that the hammer and trigger were connected by a field repair of what looked like a crushed brass cartridge case. I don’t think he was trying to scam me — he honestly didn’t know that much about black powder guns. So, I had to pass on the gun.

Since I was at Cabela’s anyway, I went inside. They had just acquired several dozen fine vintage firearms from an estate, and these were on display. I looked at scores of fine vintage rifles like a pair of Remington 14-1/2 slide-action repeaters in 44-40 caliber that are as scarce as hen’s teeth. There were four Farquharson rifles, including one that was priced at only $299. In all, I must have looked at 50 fine vintage rifles — all of them desirable and priced well. Yet, in the end, I walked out of the store with no purchase.

I was with a buddy who did want one of the estate guns, though, so we went back inside and took it into their salon to examine it more closely. The salon is where the guns that are usually priced at $1,000 and up are kept behind glass. That was where I noticed that the barrel on the rifle he was interested in had been relined, which killed the deal. But while he was chatting with the salesman, I wandered around the room looking at the guns I could never afford. That was when I spotted a beautiful Winchester High Wall with a scope in .218 Mashburn Bee caliber. I knew my buddy liked that caliber, so I dragged him over for a look because the price was $800, which is not a small amount, but considering what it is, it was a wonderful price.

He looked at the rifle, and it was gorgeous…but he hesitated at the last minute, so I delivered the classic enabling line, “If you don’t buy this gun, I will. It’s too nice to pass up.” Well, he called me on it and said he thought that was exactly what I should do. So I did.

Very long story short: When we got home, I discovered that this rifle has a single-set trigger. A couple days later, we discovered the caliber is not .218 Mashburn Bee; it’s .219 Zipper Improved. And it was made by the Mashburn Arms Co., so Mashburn, himself, or his son, made this rifle.

This custom Winchester High Wall literally jumped into my truck and followed me home! It was a no-brainer good investment. That’s my new $25 Weaver K10-T scope on top, by the way.

The first five rounds we shot last week went into a 0.392-inch group at 50 yards! We don’t even know what loads the gun likes, and it’s already shooting this well!

The first five-shot group at 50 yards tells me this rifle wants to shoot! It measures 0.392 inches between centers. I don’t even know the load for this rifle yet.

Anytime I care to (and I definitely don’t — believe me), I can double my money on this gun. It literally jumped into my lap, and there was absolutely zero risk to me because of what it is.

That is today’s lesson. Learn about the things you intend to deal on. Then, when a deal comes your way, act on it. If this has helped even one of you get off the dime and start dealing in airguns, I’ve succeeded.

58 thoughts on “Making your first deal”

  1. BB,
    During your visit, can you inquire about the newest Leapers 3-9X 40MM scope? I really like the turret changes and the shorter scope length, but disappointed with the overall optics due to reduced brightness, clarity at higher power, and increase in optical distortions. I’ve tried two samples and had the similar results. The prior version of this scope required an allen wrench for the turrets, but the optics are much better. Plus, the new scope is wider, and I had to change to high mounts. The prior scope could be used with medium mounts as long as you didn’t need the front dust cover.

  2. There’s only one thing worst than buyers remorse, it’s getting home and telling and kicking yourself because you should have bought that thing.
    If you have buyers remorse at least you can re-sell and if you made a mistake get some of your money back.


  3. BB,

    Off topic, but you said you like questions from new airgunners (I still consider myself new as I’ve only owned such guns for about 3 years now). On my PSE bow I have vibration absorbing attachments on the limbs. Last night I was pondering whether something like that (custom made of course) might work on a spring piston gun barrel? I’ve read that these guns have back and forth recoil and the barrel vibrates in a 360 degree manner requiring the artillery hold to make sure the pellet exits at the same time during the vibration rotation (sounds like a song). If we could shrink the size of that rotation with some sort of vibration absorbing attachment perhaps we could make the gun less hold sensitive and easier to shoot?

    My gut tells me that either this wouldn’t work, or it has been tried already, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thanks!!!

    • se mn airgunner,

      Smart question about barrel harmonics on a springer.

      Several products have been manufactured to tune and tame barrel harmonics on on airgun. The HOTS system on a Whiscombe, the Vortek brake that B.B. showed on the end of his R1 in his recent articles and the Limbsaver are the ones that immediately come to mind. Vortek brakes have been discontinued but can still be found and limbsavers are still produced.


    • se mn ag,

      Your idea does exist in airguns. The Whiscombe rifles have an optional system called the Harmonic Optimized Tuning System (HOTS) that does exactly what you describe. I actually used that system to prove that vibration and not supersonic velocity was the destroyer of accuracy i a report titled Pellet velocity versus accuracy test. See it here:



      • BB and Kevin, thanks for the responses. I don’t see any products that are generic and attach to any rifle. Is there anything like that available? For bows, you can buy the attachments for any brand bow. I am visualizing some sort of rubber attachment that sticks to the barrel in my mind that is fairly economical and easy to install. Probably a pipe dream.

  4. That winchester high wall is gorgeous AND it shoots too. I’ve never seen a used gun deal at bass pro or cabela’s. They always seem to add a zero onto the prices of the used guns I’ve seen. Nice find.


    • Kevin,

      This gun was at the back of four better guns that all cost $1,700 and up. I was astonished to see it. They thought it was a .218 Mashburn Bee because it has the Mashburn Arm stamp on the barrel.

      They didn’t even know it has a set trigger. I only discovered it after getting home.


  5. BB, there is no reason that you can’t be a much better shotgunner. Shotgun shooting is the opposite of rifle/pistol shooting. Your look at the target with a shotgun, not the sights like with a with a rifle or pistol. First, you need a shotgun that “fits” you. This means that when you shoulder the gun, you are looking right down the barrel. No moving your head around to get it right. When you shoot, look at the target and keep you head down, swing through, lead, shoot. Here’s a tip, find a pond that you can throw targets across the water and shoot at them. Since you can see where the shot hits, you will get on target fast. Of course, a good coach helps a lot!

    I just found an old airgun magazine. It’s “Airgun News & Report”. Vol. 1, No. 1 circa 1985. It has an article about hunting turkeys with a Beeman R1 and a test report on the RWS 36. Things have changed a bit in the last 26 years.


    • Hm, I practice this with my Crosman 1077 on my stationary target, and it is great fun. My gripe against trap shooting is that you depend on facilities.

      B.B., it’s hard to imagine a lever angle ejection for the Winchester 94 with that flat top. With that gun, I wonder how much a scope would improve things unless vision is a serious problem. That rifle looks like it is built for quick handling and short distances.

      I don’t have much patience for today’s slow bargainer. My idea of bargaining is to set a fair price, and if it’s not taken, to pull out and etch in the stupidity at work with consequences that will last everybody forever and ever. I don’t think this would make me much of a facilitator. 🙂 But I will admit being very cautious about my own purchases.


      • Matt: 200 yard shots on deer are possible with the . 30-30 Winchester 94. Just relieving the barrel bands and slightly reducing the length of the magazine plug screw on the carbine can cut 100yard groups in half. The .30-30 cartridge is an inherently accurate cartridge as well . In a single shot rifle or bolt action ,it is a very accurate combo and well worth scoping. It is one of the few cartridges that can utilize homecast bullets that will perform as well as jacketed ones, on paper or in the field. The scout scope 94 or Marlin 336 is a deadly woods combo, that can be shot more accurately on game animals in thick cover than the same gun with a receiver sight. In the dark pre dusk eastern woodlands you are often looking for little holes in the heavy brush to shoot at the deer .

      • Matt61,

        You don’t have to depend on facilities for shooting trap informally. You just need a place to shoot, some clay pigeons and a trap thrower.

        Spring loaded trap throwers are cheap that can throw singles or doubles. Easily adjustable for height. You can stake them to the ground or mount them on a tire so they’re portable. Pull the release string with your foot and you can shoot trap all buy yourself.


    • I guess I should just dump my Remington 870 then…

      The problem is that my weird eyesight will switch master eye (normally right). bringing a shotgun up to my shoulder triggers an instinctual “something is approaching the eye — use the other eye as master”. I have to deliberately close my left eye after shouldering to switch back to the right, otherwise I’m viewing across the muzzle.

      A high cast stock won’t help either — it would just bring the barrel up to the left eye, and leave my right eye master.

      Wearing an eye patch might do it — but I’m not sure any range would be happy in seeing someone “half blind” themselves on the shooting stand.

      Ah well, that old 870 hasn’t been fired in over 30 years, and finding 2 3/4″ shells has probably gotten harder.

  6. My own philosophy about bargaining, whether buying or selling, is that you should be able to walk away from a deal that you aren’t happy with. Of course, it helps to know the value of things. This is the one thing that really gets me when watching a show like Pawn Stars; I get frustrated to see people cave at really bad offers. If you’ve ever been in that store you’ll see that these guys make huge profits, and not the small mark-ups that they claim. They don’t mark things up by 20%, 40%, or even 75%. They mark things up 100% to probably as much as 500%. THEY MAKE A KILLING !!!

    • Victor,

      I’ve watched Pawn Stars. Amazing some of the stuff that walks in the doors. Merchandise and people both.

      I’m sure the Pawn Stars shop does well. Doubt they “make a killing” because of that thing called overhead. I have little doubt that the show helped their business greatly.


        • Mike,
          It’s become a major tourist trap. The store is surprisingly small, and yet a whole wall has nothing by Pawn Stars show paraphernalia. It really isn’t a place for bargain hunters.

        • The show must be paying a minor fortune if bumbling apprentice fishbait (aka: Chumlee) can afford a car in the $$$,$$$ range (I forget what it is, but he mentioned it on Leno a year or so back — Ferrari or such). {Okay — he got it cheap — a Maserati that he snagged for $85,000, but still… this is the guy seen destroying collectible items every few episodes}

      • Kevin,
        Oh, they do make a killing. The prices for store items are flat out obnoxious, but in truth the store itself is unlikely where the majority of their business is conducted. At their prices, they wouldn’t sell much. So the overhead has little to do with the store itself. The vast majority of their premises is warehouse space. Those amazing items that make their way into the store and that you see on the TV show aren’t likely to be sold in the store itself. I am absolutely certain that they are well connected through optimal channels to sell what they buy at maximum profit. The store, at this point because of all the fame and free advertisement that they now get, is just a front. In fact, probably at least a quarter of the products sold in the store are for tourist, including things like “I Love Chumlee” T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.

    • People who get an appraisal WAY over what they tought it was worth and WAY over what the store is offering them and still accept the sell it, it’s like these people never of that weird new thing called eBay and the internet in general. You sell it on eBay or on a forum specializing in what you have and you’ll get maybe even more than what it was appraised for.
      And when it’s been in your family for generations, then you’re not supposed to sell it, if it’s been in the family for generations don’t go selling it for 400$ to some pawn shop owner! At least sell it to someone you know will appreciate it!


    • One last thing about the show Pawn Stars. It is reality TV, and most of us know what that means. Here’s an interesting article on the show.


      Whatever the case, I still like the show, but I know that as a “business” it isn’t real to me, nor the vast majority of people who live in southern Nevada. I on occasion visit a pawn shop near my home and am amazed at how cheap useful items can be. Unfortunately, they don’t sell guns. In any case, real pawn shops are very different from the show.

      • Victor,

        Thanks for the link. Read the whole thing. Reality shows are not real. They’re scripted. Have you seen the show Barter Kings? Fun, but I’m guessing the same baloney there.

        How about American Pickers? Yeah, they’re just popping in on a person who has no qualms about a camera crew coming along with these guys he’s just met for the first time. Even better, the person they’re popping in to see is already wired with a lavalier microphone. Not unusual…I wear one all the time. Doesn’t everyone? 🙂

        We watch Storage Wars, too, and I’m sure that’s a bunch of malarkey. I bet some of the finds have been plants to make the show look good and to entice viewers.


        • Edith,
          I haven’t seen that show, Barter Kings. I have watched American Pickers and Storage Wars, but not as actively as Pawn Stars. I pretty much guessed from the beginning that Pawn Stars was staged. How else would Rick & Co. know so much about certain items even before the “experts” stepped in. I’m going to go into a political rant here, but even the media (e.g., CNN) can be very bogus. Propaganda is alive and well in the US.

          There was a book out a couple years ago that made the claim that Americans are becoming much more ignorant and less critical because of the internet, network, and cable news, but especially because of the internet. The main point is that real journalism does not exist on the internet. The internet is a cheap, low-standard, medium for getting information, so too much of it is absolutely bogus. Again, not to get political about this because everyone is guilty and everyone is losing since the primary victim is the truth.

          • Victor,

            I’m reminded of the new ad from State Farm Insurance, where a woman says “You can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.” While most people won’t say that, I’m guessing a substantial part of the population thinks that.


          • WOW, I never would have guessed it was THAT much staged.
            Have you seen “Southern Fried Stings” ? It’s the same bogus crap “re-ennactement”.
            Not sure how many of those “reality” shows are actual “realities”. I prefer Deadliest Catch, now THAT’S reality TV. Otherwise I prefere openly scripted shows LOL.


  7. Went to the range today for my 100 yard test shoot. Temperature in the high 80’s, breeze from south (my right) that increased to wind gusts.

    Guns used: Beeman RS2 in .22; Winchester 1028 in .177.

    Target: Birchwood Casey “Drain Pipe” rat, about 12″x4″. Pinned to “blackjack” soft composite siding underlay material mounted in wooden frame.

    Shooting from wooden shooting bench at 100 yards.

    Beeman RS2: Tasco 3/9x50mm scope. Crosman Premier Hollow Point, 14.3gr.

    With 1′ to 1 1/2′ holdover, POI 1 1/2′ low on first 5 shots.
    Next 5 shots: 3′ holdover. POI 6″ to left.
    No hits yet on target. Adjusted scope 24 clicks to right.
    Next 5 shots: Same POA as above. 2 hits in throat; 1 hit in face; 1 hit in elbow.
    Next 5 shots: Same POA as above. 1 hit on spine; 1 hit on shoulder; 1 hit on jaw.
    Rest of shots on paper, but not on target.
    Next 5 shots: Same POA. 1 hit on thigh; 2 near misses on paper.
    Last 5 shots: Same POA. 1 hit on spine; 1 hit on butt; 1 hit on gut.
    Wind now gusting from South.
    30 shots fired, including ranging shots. 11 hits on target.

    Winchester 1028. AO factory scope, looks like 30mm objective.
    Crosman 7.4gr. Pointed Hunting pellets.

    First 5 shots: Holdover 4′. No discernible hits on target or backing.
    Next 5 shots: Holdover changed to 3′. No discernible hits.

    Switched to Cabela’s Ultra Magnum domed 10.5gr. pellets.
    First 5 shots: Holdover 3′. Can hear rounds hitting. Think I am hitting to left of paper.
    Adjusted 24 clicks to right. No discernible hits.
    Next 5 shots: Changed POA to 3′ over, 1′ to right. No discernible hits.
    Dropped POA to 2′ over. Still 1′ to right.
    Next 5 shots: 1 hit in right ear. 1 hit in ribcage.
    Last 15 shots: Same POA. 1 hit between eyes. 1 hit on right hand. 1 hit in ribs. 1 hit on heart,

    7 hits out of 30 shots, including ranging shots.

    It was now into the 90’s and I was running out of water, so I left shooting the XT for another day.

    What to make of this?

    A stout springer can hit targets at 100 yards, even in a moderate wind. You will need a heavy pellet,
    maybe 10gr. minimum.

    The key to hitting the target is to determine the POA. If you are using scopes sighted in for 25yd. the elevation turret adjustment for 100 yards will be beyond the adjustment range of the scope. Establishing holdover points are critical. Once POA is determined, keep lobbing shots and a percentage of them will hit. This is quite different than direct fire at 25 yards.

    What about greater ranges than 100 yards? While establishing POA with the RS2, several shots hit the wooden target frame. The heavy pellets were burying themselves in the wood to the bottom of the pellet skirts.
    That leads me to believe that the RS2 could deliver effective hits to at least 150 yards, as far as force of impact is concerned. I rather doubt if the accuracy would exist at that distance.
    I think this gun could shoot a pellet 200 yards. If I set up at the 200 yard bench, and spent half a day shooting several hundred rounds, I might get a few hits on target, but what would that prove?

    For the other guns, I suspect 100 yards is about as far as they are going to be able to do anything.

    This was an interesting challenge for me. Going into this, I wasn’t sure I would be able to hit anything at 100 yards.

    If Drain Pipe were a real rat, either gun would have killed him.


  8. BB,
    I might start wheeling and dealing if you find things like that High Wall :)! I like the concept of the $25 scope on top, but maybe its a bit anachronistic ?

    You can gloat if you want to but the Blackhawk is on its way back to PA. The groups were absolutely amazing until this morning when some kind of heavy dieseling and harsh behavior started, but I had already noticed they strayed further from the bull the farther out I went. At first I thought it was the slight misalignment of the rear sight I had noted, but that was miniscule and the correction didn’t stick when I went to 20 yards, etc., and went clear against the stop with Meisterkugelns for some reason (they were shooting way to the left of the Superdomes but still grouping yesterday). I suspect some runout at the muzzle (hidden under a “brake”), but don’t really know; not something I could fix without violating the warranty hideously if at all and the bad behavior was the nail in the coffin; it was supposed to work while I work on the 36-2. Probably should have known it was too good to be true. I think I will go through with my RMA slip request to exchange it for a 34 w/tech check rather than risk another disappointment of this type, but I the helpful support person at PA will give me a call when they get it and check my inclinations at that time in case I feel up to another go.

    Anyway, sic transit gloria mundi :)!

  9. Most do real well. We have a small pawn shop and I go there to look for tools and airguns. The owner often low balls folk’s stuff and then marks it up 150% or better. I’ve listened to his tough guy buy spiel so often now ,that I have it memorized from listening to him jack customers who bring in stuff to sell or pawn. My best buy from him was a Diana T-05 model 24 ,with a BSA airrifle scope. He knows I buy guns and I think he used to think I was just some hick in carhartt overalls . So he pulls out this Diana and anounces that it is a 1000fps air rifle that sells for $300, and I’d be stupid if I didn’t take for $175. I just offered him $75 cash and he took it. He probably paid 20 bucks for it at most. Cash is king ,knowledge is key.

    • People of discrimination wear Liberty overalls, so I can see where he was mislead :). Pawn shops are all the rage now — combination of economy and TV shows. I’d say the new owners learn some hard lessons in the first few weeks of business.

  10. If you are selling a rifle. Never (well, almost) sell the scope with it if one is mounted. Folks want the scope for “free” as a part of the deal with no extra money payed. Keep the scope for another rifle.


  11. Because of the economy, and in particular housing and construction, pawn shops have an excess surplus of tools. The situation is so bad that they pay very little for them. On the other hand, if you need to build an inventory of tools, pawn shops are the way to go. Unfortunately for me, there’s only one pawn shop in town that sells guns of any kind.

  12. B.B.,

    I’ve waited til late at night to post this comment so as to not turn this blog into a firearm forum. Your answer can surely wait until you return since it’s not urgent and if you want to go offline that’s fine too.

    I’m really jealous of your .219 zipper built by Mashburn on the Winchester High Wall platform. It’s what I’ve been looking for but didn’t realize until your wonderful post.

    Here’s the reason.

    Colorado in general and my fishing club especially is experiencing the worst drought we have had in over 40 years. We’ve been forced to divert (read cut off) water from 12 of our lakes. This is far worse than the 2002 drought. The result is such low water levels that fish are not only oxygen starved but the low water levels has their fins out of the water in many lakes. Other lakes with water levels not as low, yet, have concentrated fish to the point that you can net half a dozen fish with one scoop.

    You already know the natural result. Predators. Crows, ravens, pellicans (that we haven’t seen since 2002. How do they know?), raccoons, bears, eagles, turkey vultures, bobcat and especially COYOTES. The packs of coyotes that are at an all time high at the club are not only a threat to the fish but during the day have been a threat to pets and people. Since July 2nd we’ve had 5 pets go missing. Most members have curtailed their walks at night because of the coyotes. It’s a real problem since our club has become an easy feeding ground.

    You may remember my post almost a year ago about the .22-250. Good gun. Between John, Greg, Jess and me we have killed 243 coyotes from March of this year until Friday. The overwhelming majority have been in the last 45 days. We dont bait, call or sit in wait for the coyotes this is just on the fly. We are regularly circumnavigating the club property checking on water flows to make sure beaver, weeds, dead animals, etc. aren’t blocking the minimal water flows we have since the water flow/oxygen is critical to the remaining fishes survival. But we don’t have the manpower to wait the predators out. With the drought our manpower is exhausted just by moving fish from lake to lake, rearing pond to rearing pond to insure survival of our remaining stock. No manpower for predator control other than on the fly.

    I’ve been forced to put my airgun interest on the shelf and focus on coyote control since they’re destroying almost $53,000.00 of fish per month now, killing pets and threatening members. I’ve been voraciously reading up on vintage coyote guns.

    200 yards is an average shot at our club because of our terrain. 700 yard shots from many vantage points is possible but we don’t have time or personnel for waiting on those daily migratory routes. We only react once they’re on club property which is usually 200 yards or less.

    Based on Roberts great book recommendation of Yours Truly Harvey Donaldson I have become obesessed with wildcats. For coyote control at under 200 yards I wanted a lever action and for cost have been focused on the .219 wasp since these wildcat guns usually haven’t been shot much, are accurate (with the right load) and like your custom can have single set triggers which would be ideal for our application.

    The .218 bee is impressive but until your article today I never paid attention to the .219 zipper improved. Amazing ballistics and accuracy for up to 200 yards.

    For your brass are you reforming .25-.35 or .30-30 or .32 special? Maybe you’re buying already formed cases from someone like buffalo arms or quality cartridge? Seems like you got this one shooting quickly so I’m curious.

    Last question…not a critique…since you’re typically conservative in reloading it seems that 32.5gr IMR with a 50gr win nos is agressive in a lever. Bear in mind this is a question from someone that is an infant in reloading and gave away all of his equipment back in the early 80’s.


    • Kevin,

      The .219 Zipper improved has been called the rimmed 22-250, It will attain 4,000 f.p.s. with light bullets.

      Yes, that load is warm, but the cartridges dropped out of the chamber without extraction, and the primers showed no signs of pressure. The 55-grain bullet was clocked (just one time) at 3351 f.p.s., which is fast, but not overly so.

      My plan is to shoot groups at 100 and 200 yards. I have the sense that this rifle wants to group less than an inch at 200.

      The scope that came on the rifle was a Weaver .22 rimfire 4X scope (3/4″ tube) with a Lischert 2.5X doubler on the front. It was shimmed so high that I had to adjust it as low as it would go, just to shoot that group, which landed about 8-inches high at 50 yards. At 200 yards, it was several feet too high. So whoever owned this rifle was shooting at 500 yards and beyond.

      I have a gut feeling that this may be the best buy I have ever made, but time and testing will tell.

      If you ever get down here and give me some warning time, I’ll load up some of the best rounds I know about and let you try it at my local range.

      We resized 30-30 brass, which is the best way to make the round. Not one case in 52 was lost. They say if you fire-form straight .219 Zipper cases you lose up to 80 percent of them to shoulder splits. Dies for this cartridge cost over $250, so to save that I load it with a set of 22-250 dies. I only neck-size, and this works perfectly.

      My shooting buddy and I have worked for two years to get a good .219 Don Wasp load without success. So to have something like this happen first time out was a real breath of fresh air. He has now rechambered a .219 Zipper single shot of his own, based on what he saw me do with this rifle. I think this one is going to work!


    • Just out of curiosity Kevin what do you do with 243 dead coyotes??? If you just leave them there isn’t it going to bring more predators in? but picking up 243 dead coyotes… and what do you do with the dead thing afterwards!?!?!
      We didn’t have much rain this year either, makes for awesome vacation time but lousy lakes, fishing, boating and farming.


      • J-F,

        We have a trench on the far wouthwest corner of our property. We use it primarily for dead cows, classes of fish we raise that must be entirely disposed of because of disease/virus, beavers that get into our system, etc. Yes, it attracts other predators. Yes, it is a good place to stake out early in the morning and late at night. No matter what is placed in the trench there’s not much left this time of year in 3-4 days.


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