by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Before I begin, I want you to know that I’m driving back to Maryland tomorrow to be with by good friend Earl “Mac” McDonald. He left the hospital on Wednesday and will be allowed to stay at home for awhile, and I will be there with him. I’m planning on spending two weeks there, so my blogs will be written on the road. I’m taking a couple things to test, and I will have to dream up some creative ways of filling all the blogs for the next two weeks.

This is a request to you veteran readers to help out the new readers. I know I don’t have to ask you to do this — you already do it, but I want you to know where I am and why I’m not responding as fast as normal. As usual, my wife, Edith, will be monitoring the blog and will help, too.

Today’s report was supposed to be my April Fool’s posting; but when I read it, I didn’t think it was very funny. Apparently, this was something that just had to come out. It read like a Friday blog, so here you go!

Edith showed me a news item about a high school principal who has just suspended all recognition of scholastic achievement. There will be no more valedictorian or salutatorian at her school because of the negative impact it might have on the feelings of those kids who are not recognized. Good for her! Life will start beating up these kids soon enough — there’s no need to begin while they’re still in the tender care of the local school district! And this spirit of generosity has given me cause to reconsider the format and direction of this blog.

For eight years, I’ve been reporting on the performance of various airguns without hesitation. If a certain gun could not shoot a group, I showed that in pictures for everyone to see. If a trigger was heavy or stiff, I reported it and even posted the results of a trigger-pull scale test. Well, no more!

No longer will I hold up the results of my testing for all the world to see and compare. No longer will airgun manufacturers be embarrassed by public testing of the products they make. It just isn’t fair.

What I will do from this point forward is make every attempt to find the good points of every gun I test. For example, there are some spring guns that have heavy cocking, stiff and creepy triggers, and mediocre accuracy. In the past, I might have told you about all of that and shown the targets but left out the fact that these same guns have fashionable wood stocks. Or, for those guns with synthetic stocks and barrel jackets, I have come right out and mentioned that, while downplaying their high velocity. No longer.

Even the most inexpensive guns made to sell for the lowest prices have redeeming values. For example, how great is it that you can buy a gun made of real wood and steel for under $30? Nobody cares that the stock has wood putty filling holes from when it was part of a pallet, or that the metal parts look like they were dragged through a gravel pit behind a tractor! I will now call this a “Hunter finish” and tout the fact that you never need to worry what the elements can do — because it’s already been done!

What about those guns that simply fail to function when I test them? In the past, I retired them quietly and either replaced them with other versions of the same gun or I just held my tongue until a reader asked me where Part 3 of the report was. But I won’t do that anymore. Now, I can say these guns will make wonderful projects for those who want to learn how to work on airguns. Or, in some cases, how to design airguns because some of the guns I’ve tested can never work the way they were originally built.

What we have to understand is that all airgun manufacturers are not alike — just as all children do not have the same potential. For example, a manufacturer may be located in a country where the customs dictate that management is always right — no matter what. So, they keep right on building the same guns in the face of gross market rejection. How is that any different from the kids who like to sit at the back of the class and text on their smart phones during class? Why should they be made to suffer when it’s the accepted practice of the day to communicate continuously without having an original thought? These kids didn’t ask to be born at this time. They didn’t ask for a smart phone — well, maybe they did — but they aren’t responsible for having one if their parents think it’s okay. Are they?

People always focus on the downside of things, like all the fast-food establishments that exist in this country. They’re making all of us fat and ruining the national health. But there’s an upside, too. These establishments provide needed jobs for the growing sector of the population that finishes primary education without having learned anything. And, with all the factories moving offshore, where else are they going to get jobs if not in fast food?

Doing more
I’m not going to just stop making negative comments about airguns. I’m going to ask Pyramyd Air to take the objective specifications off their website, as well. We don’t need to know things like velocity or a gun’s weight. Let them be happy surprises for the customer. We all agree that seeing a gun come out of a box for the first time is a real treat. Why not go all the way and make the entire shooting experience a delightful journey of discovery?

And those silly warnings in the owner’s manuals. What’s up with that? The fact that a certain airgun can be deadly if handled improperly should be information known only to the maker and to any owner who operates it in that manner. The rest of us don’t need to know.

I can hear the negative comments right now, “Don’t stop telling us about the results of testing these airguns. How will we know which one to choose if we don’t know how any of them perform?”

One way would be to buy them and try them out for yourselves. As I’ve pointed out many times, everyone’s tastes are subjective, so how am I to know what’s best for you? Maybe your opinion of what is accurate differs from mine; and by telling you what I think, I’m inadvertently preventing you from acquiring a gun that would be satisfactory.

What will I write about?
Maybe you think if I stop reporting test results I’ll have nothing to say. Not so! I’ve studied the network media and have determined that if I simply repeat what the manufacturer says about his products there’s an endless supply of material. Besides, there are hundreds of news shows that don’t say anything new, true or informative, yet they make millions off sponsors because people are addicted to watching them. It’s a model that seems to work very well for CNN, and I think it might actually grow our blog readership!

In fact, I think I’ll invite the marketing departments of the various manufacturers to become my new guest bloggers. That way,  all the middlemen are eliminated, and they can just tell you what they want you to know.

My advice to consumers is to look to the government. They can tell us what works and what doesn’t. Better yet, they can cut right to the chase and just tell us what to do without giving the rationale. They’re already so good at it! Why don’t we just accept the fact that the government knows what’s best for everyone and stop fighting them? Can’t we all just get along?