Ft. Worth Airgun Show: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• How big was it?
• Larry Hanusch exhibit
• My display
• Door prizes and raffles
• More to come

The Ft. Worth airgun show was held last Saturday. In my opinion and in the opinion of the club that put it on, the show was very successful. Of course, we’re biased, but I think the public was also impressed. At least, that’s what they were telling me all day.

How big was it?
There were 60 tables at this show. They filled the hall we were in. We had a second hall we could have also used, but it wasn’t necessary this time. Dealers set up from 6:30 to 9 a.m., and the public started coming in right at 9. We had a couple early buyers who paid the equivalent of a table fee to see what was in the show before the doors were finally opened. More than 400 people attended (including the dealers).

When the show opened, there was a line of people at the entrance, and it stayed there for quite a long time. I was too busy to photograph it until about 15 minutes after the door opened. It was jammed and remained that way until the show closed.

Airgun show after opening
Fifteen minutes after the door opened, the show looked like this. It stayed this busy for the rest of the day!

Larry Hanusch exhibit
I invited collector Larry Hannusch to the show and asked him to bring his display of ball reservoir air rifles — some of which are from the 18th century! This is the largest display of these guns that you’ll see in the United States. Even gun museums don’t have as many of these curious big bore airguns.

Hannusch display
Six ball reservoir big bore airguns from centuries past were displayed by collector Larry Hannusch. Second from the top is a superior flask gun that has the ball reservoir above instead of below the action. The ball is offset so the sights can be seen.

Among the 6 guns on the display board is a superior flask gun that has the ball above the bore. One wonders how the shooter sighted such a strange weapon.

Hannusch gun detail
This ball reservoir airgun looks like a flintlock. While the frizzen is just for show, the hammer outside is the lever to cock the real hammer behind the lockplate. Some have said these guns were made to deceive so poachers could use them (airguns were quieter than the firearms of the day), but that large ball was just as recognizable in 1790 as it is today. This is probably just homage to the popular design of the day — just as today’s big bores might look like ARs or AKs.

vintage airgun hand pump How did they fill those ball reservoirs? With hand pumps like this one. In a vintage pump, there were often no piston seals at all — just the steel piston hand-lapped to the bore of the pump tube. With a single-stage pump like this, a person’s weight becomes the factor that determines how much air pressure can be achieved. Dennis Quackenbush and I experimented with this years ago and were able to hit 840 psi with a similar pump.

My display
Because this show was held at an active gun club whose members were free to come and go with their firearms, it was decided to allow firearms on the tables in the hall. That allowed me to display part of my lookalike airgun collection for the first time. Gun shows don’t care about airguns (plus their tables cost too much!) and airgun shows don’t permit firearms, so this was the first time I could show off some of what I have.

Ultra-Hi guns
Airgun collectors are aware of the Ultra-Hi Pioneer BB gun (gun in the center with the blonde stock) that was made to be sold during the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. The muzzleloader above it is the firearm that Miroku, the Japanese maker, made first. They made both guns. They copied the muzzleloader’s style when making the BB gun. People know about the BB gun but are unaware the muzzleloader was ever made.

I displayed many more airgun/firearm lookalikes, but the one that captured most people’s attention had to be the 2 Hakims I had on the table. The airgun was the trainer I am reviewing for you right now. We’ve seen that rifle 5 times already; and the next time, we’ll be going inside for a look. But the other Hakim was an actual Egyptian 8mm firearm that I had just purchased at a gun show a week earlier — in this very hall! I’m not going to show you a picture of that rifle now, because I’ll start a report on it very soon.

I showed Larry Hannusch and several other people how the Hakim firearm operates. Larry had 4 Hakim trainers for sale on his table, so he certainly knows a lot about them; but he told me this was the first Hakim firearm he’d ever seen. Another advantage of having firearms at this show.

Hakim trainers
See ’em and weep! Four Hakim air rifle trainers, priced from $225 to $325. Don’t tell me these can’t be found. You just have to attend the right airgun shows. Look at the fiddleback grain in the butt of the one in the middle! The rifle shown at the bottom is a Remington Gamemaster , probably in .30-06 or .270 caliber.

The door prizes and raffles
If you wanted a good chance to win a fine airgun, this was the show to attend. Hatsan, Umarex USA and AirForce Airguns all donated raffle prizes that totaled over $2,000 in value. A Hatsan AT44-10 Long QE, a Walther LGV Competition Ultra and an AirForce Condor SS were raffled off. Each prize was won immediately, as everyone stopped and listened while the winning numbers were read off.

Pyramyd Air, Crosman and Umarex USA donated door prizes that each attendee was eligible to win. They were given tickets they tore in half when they paid their admission to the show. Prizes included an Air Venturi Bronco, A Benjamin Trail NP2 and an RWS Diana 34P. Umarex USA also donated over a dozen smaller door prizes such as airsoft guns, American Airgunner caps and coffee cups. So a lot of people won something.

first door prizes
The first 2 door prize winners from 10:30 in the morning were pleased with their prizes! This is the way to keep an airgun show interesting!

The drawings were held every hour for the major prizes, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. So something was always happening, about to happen or just finishing up.

The major manufacturers and larger dealers
one key to the success of this airgun show was the presence of the major manufacturers and dealers. Pyramyd Air sponsored the show and provided prizes, targets for the airgun ranges, safety glasses and hearing protection for everyone who came to shoot. AirForce Airguns helped out in numerous ways, including providing a rodeo announcer for the raffle and door prize announcements. They did it because — well — who else had a rodeo announcer at their table?

Umarex USA couldn’t do enough for the show. Besides having a very active table in the hall and providing many more prizes than they had promised, the had the television program, American Airgunner, on site all day. They filmed the show and many of the special displays, plus they went out to the range and fired several wonderful airguns for future episodes.

airgun show Rossi Morreale American Airgunner host, Rossi Morreale, was on hand for the entire airgun show. He told me privately that he had never seen a show as packed and energized as this one.

Crosman stayed on the range all day. They were demonstrating their new Bulldog .357 big bore rifle and letting anyone shoot it.

Bulldog 357
Crosman showed the 5-shot Bulldog .357 big bore repeater all day at the range and let anyone fire it. American Airgunner TV show took them up on their offer and filmed a segment for the show.

There were many other well-knowm dealers at the show. Rave Rensing of R. Arms Innovations (R.A.I) makes adapters to turn Crosman and Benjamin pistols into handy carbines was there. He told Edith he’d sold out of all but one of his adapters hours before the show was over.

Rensing
Dave Rensing, of R.A.I. (left), brought adapters to the show. These are already well-known and sold quite readily.

More to come
There’s much more to report, but it will have to wait for Part 2. Suffice to say the first Ft. Worth airgun show was a tremendous success, and I think there will more of them.

73 thoughts on “Ft. Worth Airgun Show: Part 1

  1. Its looks like you all had a great time and good turn out with some great door prizes Tom and Edith. I wish Texas was closer to Alabama, I am trying very hard to get the funds to be able to attend the NC show next month on the 17th and 18th. I am hoping you two will be able to make it so we could meet in person and talk some. It would be the first air gun show I have attended and an not sure what to expect other than a lot of fine and desirable air guns that would make me appreciate the adventures I had with air guns years ago as a teenager. I do hope you can make it as I am going to do my best to be there.

    Buldawg



      • BB
        Ok I know you are busy and understand, Edith had said you may try to make it but did not know at that time what your schedule’s would be. So maybe we will be able to meet at one somewhere in the future.

        Buldawg



    • Wish it wasn’t so far up to the show. Would have loved it.

      Off topic. Have you ever done a blog for the Discovery and the 2240 concerning installing a multi-shot breech? I would love to get a Marauder, but since I’m 70 miles from the only place I’ve found to provide HPA, I rely on my hand pump for both the above guns (I have a HIPAC on the 2240) as pumping to 2000 psi is easy. To spend the extra money for a Marauder to only set it for the 2000 psi level doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I also have a CO2 bottle so can also shoot both guns on CO2 when desired.

      If someone knows of a HPA source in the near vicinity of Bluffton Texas, I could reconsider the use of HPA above 2000 psi.


      • Lionel,

        Welcome to the blog.

        I’m a single-shot guy so, no, I haven’t done anything with the repeating airguns you mention. I would be the one converting them back to single shot.

        If you read “Shotgun News”, I have a feature article coming out this month in the color edition about an affordable compressor.

        B.B.


      • Lionel
        Check and see if you have a paintball shop, scuba diving shop or welding gas supply house near you.
        the most economical option at least in my area here in Alabama is a welding gas supplier as they will have the large 120 cubic foot size tanks of either HPA or even better Nitrogen that you can rent for less than a dollar a day and get refilled for around 50 bucks. Here in AL a 120 cubic foot tank of HPA at 6000 psi is 100.00 buck a year to rent and 55 bucks to have refilled and 6000 psi will fill your hipac or a marauder several hundred times.

        Buldawg


  2. I am so glad the show was such a success! I wish I could have attended. Maybe one day…

    It does not look like the Roanoke show is going to happen this year. After Fred Liady passed away it struggled on for a bit, but unless someone steps up who can organize such an event, it looks like this will become a memory. I guess I will have to try to get down to Hickory in October.


  3. BB,
    Did Crosman give you an idea of the price range of the Bulldog? If it shoots pretty good and they can keep the price well below a grand, they just might have hit upon a winner there. I would still prefer one of Hannusch’s though. 😉


    • RR,

      I didn’t ask about the price. The marketing person didn’t attend the show, and these things are never firm until they are. I don’t want to put out a number that’s not right.

      It does look cool. I have some more on it coming up.

      B.B.


    • RR,

      I shot the Bulldog and asked about the price. They told me they thought it would be in the $750 to $1000 dollar range. But nothing concrete.

      I ran into the Crosman folks at a restaurant later that evening. They were very approachable and we had a nice conversation. They seemed genuinely interested in my opinions about their guns despite the fact that I am just Joe Blow.

      Great show B.B. Nice to see you again. And nice to meet you too Edith.

      Mark N


      • That seems a reasonable price range for it. If they can hold that, it will sell big time.

        Personally, I would like to see them come out with a “classic” style version that I could put a 24 inch barrel on. I do understand their marketeering though. For about fifty years now, the Mattelomatic has been the only rifle so many Americans have ever used. If it is not black and does not have a pistol grip on it, something is wrong.

        I can see me ending up with one of these. I bunch of guys will buy these and play with them a bit and figure out this thing is pretty expensive to plink with. Who knows, maybe it can be mounted in a regular stock pretty easily.


  4. B.B.,
    I am glad the show was a success! I would like to see the connection of a ball flask to the hand pump if you have a picture of that. The Crosman Bulldog .357 looks very interesting. I hope that you are given one to review soon. Does it use the Rogue valve system?



    • I asked the Crosman rep about the new gun and it is 100 percent mechanical. He said when they talked to owners of the Rogue that almost everyone always shot it on high. It turned out the the people who bought it didn’t use the fancy programming after all.

      David Enoch


  5. Great show!

    Arrived at about 9:30 and I did not even stop to eat lunch until the show closed down at 4:00 pm.
    This was my first air gun show and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.





  6. BB, fantastic airgun show. I hope one day I will also be able to attend one. I am very excited to hear about the new Crosman big bore, but do you know what I would really like to learn a lot more? The ball antique airguns. Have you written about them in the past?
    I have news about the Rossi FAL lookalike. with a little help from friends, I managed to work that terrible trigger and now the gun produces slightly better results. Hope to write a part-2 to that blog soon.


    • Fred_BR,

      Oh, Fred, Fred, Fred! I debated about showing you a rifle in Part 1, and decided to hold off. Larry Hannusch brought a MILITARY version of that Rossi FAL trainer that I photographed just for you! It will be in Part 2 — I promise!

      So much to write about — so little space.

      Good news on your trigger, by the way.

      B.B.


      • I’m looking forward to seeing that Rossi FAL trainer. I have to admit that if anyone made a really accurate looking airgun version of the FAL (especially if it was in L1A1 form) I would be first in line for it despite firearm lookalikes not being my primary interest. Same thing with the Sterling SMG. I blame it on watching a lot of the Pertwee era Doctor Who episodes featuring UNIT during my youth.

        Loved seeing the pictures of the ball reservoir rifles too. One of those would probably be enough to make even me embrace PCP’s!


  7. Tom,
    You put on one heck of a show. I had a lot of fun. Now I know why you talk about Otho so much. He and Marsha are fun people to be around. I enjoyed meeting Edith again. I know I had met her in the past but it had been a long time. The highlight of the show for me was getting to hold an original Girindoni rifle that belonged to Larry Hannusch and seeing his ball reservoir rifle collection. I have so many friends at the show that the show is a big family reunion for a bunch of guys that only see each other once or twice a year.

    I was impressed with Steve and Rossi from American Airgunner. They were both nice, down to earth guys. I think they were both a little overwhelmed trying to figure out why we are so passionate about airguns. A lot of my friends wonder the same thing.

    I look forward to reading the next portion of the blog,

    David Enoch


    • David,

      I got to shoot that Lowrenz rifle of Larry’s. It’s a beater that still works well after 200 years!

      Steve and Rossi are as genuine as they seem. I am proud to call both men friends.

      The day went so well that Edith and I can’t stop talking about it. The club went out of their way to do whatever was needed and I( think they were perfect!

      My only regret is that Mac couldn’t be there. He would have enjoyed this show.

      B.B.


  8. B.B.,

    I have admired other photo’s you’ve published of Larry Hannusch’s ball reservoir guns, and hope to someday see them in person. There is a Girandoni rifle at the recently opened NRA Museum at the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, MO.

    Someday, could you test fire and report on one of Hannusch’s rifles?

    Congratulations and thank you for organizing this air gun show.

    RB


    • RB,

      Larry has done a video on some of his antique air rifles. I don’t know the status, but I’ll check on it for you.

      I don’t know whether Larry ever shoots his ball reservoir rifles, but I did get to shoot a Lowrenz of his. It is a civilian version of a Girtardoni. It’s .47 caliber and hits like a sledgehammer.

      B.B.


  9. My son and I attended the Ft. Worth Air Gun Show and had a great time. We live about 200 miles away and came up on Friday and stayed at the host hotel in nearby Weatherford. My goal first of all was to meet Tom and Edith and we got to do that. We ran into Tom in the elevator on the way to the social gathering at the hotel Friday evening. We didn’t know anyone at the social event and Tom introduced my son and I around to various vendors including Dennis Quackenbush, Scott Plinkington, and the Crosman guys.

    I ran into Dennis Quackenbush at breakfast and he kept me entertained with stories. He is a lot of fun and seems to be a really great guy.

    We got to the show promptly at 9am. There was plenty of parking nearby and we paid our $5 entry fee and were told to keep our ticket stub for door prize drawings. There was a moderate crowd by this time. I have been to many firearm gun shows in the past. There is one several times a year near our home. It is held in a large multi use building that hosts the local pro hockey team. It is huge and the fire arm shows are always completely sold out. The problem is that there is just so much to see that a person can not possibly spend much quality time looking. I usually leave them somewhat overwhelmed.

    The Ft. Worth Air Gun Show was very much smaller with most exhibits and tables in a single moderate sized building. It was just about as packed with tables as it could possibly be and still leave room for people to walk. To me, it was an ideal situation. I had plenty of time to visit each table and browse what they had. There was pretty much only air guns on display, so I was interested in just about all of them.

    By 11 am the place was packed. It was alive with enthusiastic buyers and sellers. People were smiling and having a great time. I saw air guns that I had only read about. I got to meet Ron Robinson, one of the premier FT competitors in Texas. We had corresponded by e-mail many times but had never met in person. He is an expert at FT and seems always willing to help the newer shooters.

    My son won the first door prize raffle, a “Bronco” air rifle and bought a Benjamin Titan GP from Tom Gaylord’s table. I got a “show special” and took home an AirForce Talon SS in blue, which I got to test fire at the nearby range.

    The combination of a weekend spent with my son, getting to meet Tom and Edith and being exposed to so many wonderful air guns and air gun enthusiasts, made this a weekend that I will always cherish. I sincerely hope that there is another next year. We will be there if there is.


    • Jerry,

      I am including you in Part 2. I didn’t want to overwhelm our readers with everything that happened. I am referring to your gift that I will show and explain.

      There are so many wonderful things to talk about that I wish I had a half hour on TV time instead of just a couple reports. Suffice to say, this was the best airgun show I have attended — even the shows I used to run back in Maryland were not this good.

      B.B.


  10. Edith & Tom,

    The yellow and other airguns forums are abuzz with glowing reports about the Ft. Worth show.

    Both of you must be exhausted since I know this was an enormous undertaking. Creating a successful gun show takes work. The number of big name supporters that you wrangled to the show is evidence of your commitments to make this show a success.

    Congratulations. Well done.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      I haven’t had a chance to check the other forums. During the show, I’d fully intended to post pics on the social network pages for The Godfather of Airguns but never accomplished that. Crazy busy show! Some aisles were so crowded I couldn’t get through them.

      When I looked around the room 30 mins. after opening, I pronounced the show a success. I’ve been to a number of shows that had crickets chirping even several hours after opening.

      I thought people would start leaving in droves after the last prize drawing at 2:30, but that wasn’t the case. They stuck around til closing time to soak in as much as they could. We saw people paying to enter the show as late as 3:15!

      Hope you can make it next year.

      Edith


      • Edith,

        The dust hasn’t settled so I can’t believe you’re committing to the 2nd annual show. Up here we call that a masochist.

        As a passionate airgunner I admire your commitment to the hobby and will do everything in my power to attend next year. Think you’ll need both halls next year.

        kevin


    • Kevin,

      Edith and I were just a small part of this show. The Parker County Sportsman Association (the gun club) deserves the real credit. They worked hard all day to make sure everything went smoothly.

      And a lot of credit must go to the vendors. The big guys like AirForce, Crosman, Pyramyd Air, Hatsan and Umarex USA bent over backwards to support the show. There were so many behind-the-scenes acts of generosity that I won’t mention because I would be sure to overlook somebody.

      And then there were the private dealers who really made this an airgun show by bringing the guns we expected to see. Ron Robinson’s 4 tables were loaded with treasures, but there were others, as well. I just discovered there was a Supergrade at the show that I never saw! That’s how busy and fast-paced it was.

      I was sorry that you couldn’t attend, but I hope you will come next year. We are already starting to plan it.

      B.B.




  11. B.B.

    My congrats Sir to you & Ms. Edith for your amazing organizational skills. Its certainly not easy to have a show of this scale go so well. When I think of what I’m missing, just wish I could have been there. Looking forward to hearing more of it. I also understand you missing your friend Mac at a show like this, but maybe he helped you from beyond to make it a great success?
    By the way, I don’t see any pics of you & Ms. Edith? Such modesty, and you made it happen!

    Errol


  12. I’m glad to hear the show was such a success! I regret not being able to attend but had no money to work with anyway. It still woulda been nice to see all those airguns under one roof and get a preview of some of the newer products around the corner. I probably woulda spent as much time looking for a place to rest as looking anyway.


    • Reb,

      Quite a few guys came without the intention or funds to buy something.

      I think what happens at shows is something that has nothing to do with buying. It’s more than that.

      I believe guys go to airgun shows to envelop themselves in the kinship of like-minded men. They don’t have to look at 200 tables to find one airgun amongst firearms. And then to see it’s beat up and overpriced.

      It’s the same with people who didn’t know this blog existed, and they hobble along trying to find info about airguns. Then, they find the blog, and they immerse themselves in the kinship of like-minded people who comment and ask questions.

      When you look for others who think like you and appreciate the same things you do, an airgun show is like becoming part of a secret society that embraces you and shares all the wonders the collective has gained.

      I see I’m on the verge becoming very sappy and will stop before I go too far 😛

      Edith


  13. Hi Ms. Edith,

    Yes ma’am. But for so many to give of their best & work together towards the success of an endeavor, there has to be very convincing motivation. I think thats where you & B.B. scored the most.

    Errol


  14. What a great event, I can feel the excitement from your describing it, anyone lucky to have been there will surely remember, looks like the woodstock of airgun shows! I hope someday the kind coordinators can consider taking the show on the road so us northeners can have a chance to attend without crossing the country.


  15. It looks like the show was a fun time.

    And if I remember right you showed pictures of Larry’s ball reservoir guns before. I believe from the Roanoke show. Cool guns.

    Seeing the picture that you posted of the Crosman Bulldog .357 seems to have me more interested in the gun now for some reason.

    In the next report about the show will you have any pictures of the shooting range?


  16. Looks like fun. Maybe there are people stocking up now on IZH 61 who will make a killing on them at future airgun shows.

    Reb, thanks for the CO2 article. I see that the answer to my question is that CO2 will keep performing better and better in heat until your container blows up. 🙂 This does imply a slight correction to the article that the phase of the CO2–either gas or liquid–is due to pressure alone. There is some law in chemistry whose name I don’t recall that says that the behavior of gas is due to both pressure and temperature. If mechanical pressure were the only factor then extra CO2 in a container would just go into a liquid state. But it appears that above a certain temperature, the CO2 will remain in a gas which will keep expanding until your container blows. But the article certainly predicted this effect in vivid style.

    Still digging out from my cardboard boxes and seeking the right lighting for my gun room. This is as long as I’ve gone without shooting in a long, long time. But there are some compensations. I’m spending extra time to get go through my things deliberately and get my life in order which is to say in the state the Duskwight seems to have things all the time. Among other things, I have unpacked all my action figures with all their gear of barbed wire and water-cooled machine guns. (I did once get a mountain-climbing figure in a bid to be less violent. He looked really cool with his red emergency outfit, but it was not the same.) I sure have a lot of stuff, some of it not made any more. There is a beautiful M1 Garand at 1/6th scale with a working bolt and a clip with individual rounds of almost microscopic size. I don’t think these things are made any more so for once I actually caught a commercial trend at the right time which we can only look back on as a golden age, sort of like the age of the IZH 61. Anyway, as I set up the infantrymen with their bandoliers and rifles and ka-bars, I find that I can look just like them with the real-life equivalents, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.

    Matt61


    • Matt61

      The law whose name you can’t remember is simply called the combined gas law. It’s a combination of Charles’ Law and Boyle’s Law. Charles’ Law says that at constant pressure if temperature increases the volume of the gas will increase. Boyle’s Law says that at constant temperature if pressure increases the volume will decrease.


  17. B.B. and Edith Congratulations on the show and I wish I could have attended. I also wish I could go to the Baldwinsville and Connecticut shows but that’s probably not going to happen as I have to take care of my folks. Please keep up the good work and plenty of pictures and stories as I try to keep up with the blog, my logs( recently started ironically before the blog) and shooting as much as possible right now. Thanks Ricka.


  18. I’m glad the show was a success.I wish I could get to one, but where Iive I have to find
    air guns at gun shows,I must say I have been seeing more high end air guns at the
    various shows which is a very good sign for our hobby.
    I wonder when the Crosman Bulldog will be on the market?I know I will have to get one”
    PS: I’m glad I got my IZ 61 and many othjerRussian air guns,My First one was the Anics
    co2 which resembled th CZ The mkt. is drying up I


  19. I looked high and low and do not see where the event was held in FTW on this blog. Sure would like to attend next year. Perhaps I overlooked it.

    thanks and enjoy you on american airgunner Tom.

    Mike


  20. BB+Edith
    I would like to congratulate BB and Edith on a job well done. I wonder if people can appreciate the hours of work that go into organizing a successful event. Maybe I can convince my wife to a little vacation in Ft. Worth the beginning of September, 2015.
    Ciao Titus



  21. Tom,

    I haven’t had a chance to attend an air gun show for a number of years. I am moving to Florida to be near one of my sons, and am reducing my holdings. I have a ball reservoir gun that I think Larry H. may be interested in, and have lost all my contact information. Could you give me his current E-mail address?

    Thanks,

    Jim Williams


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