by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Announcement: I’m in Ohio participating in the first annual Pyramyd Air Cup. If you’re in the area, please stop by to chew the fat with airgun hunter and writer Jim Chapman, Airgun Reporter Paul Capello and me. Even if you don’t want to shoot in the silhouette, field target or other competition matches, there are plenty of guns to shoot and try at the practice range. I’ll be returning home on Monday. In my absence, my wife, Edith, will be keeping a closer eye on the blog. I’d appreciate it if our regular blog readers would step in and answer blog questions while I’m gone.
TIP #1: People will always struggle
TIP #2: It has to be good
TIP #3: You can’t make money by losing it
This is an old report I wrote for my Airgun Revue magazine in the 1990s. I’ve put it on this blog once before, but that was years ago and it has become buried. We have so many new readers and the tale is still very applicable, so I dusted it off and updated it for today.
When I worked for an engineering firm many years ago, the private dream of some of the younger engineers was to quit the firm and start their own company. A few of them actually did start up businesses, and a small percentage of those are still in operation today. Our company is one, and I know of one other out of a dozen startups I witnessed in the 1980s.
The companies that died did so for the same reason IN EVERY CASE. They didn’t have a clear idea of what they were doing or what they wanted to do. The saddest one was when my former boss quit to start his own company a year after I left the firm to join my wife’s desktop publishing business. He rented office space, had a door sign painted, got office furniture, equipment and telephones, and had stationery printed. Then he waited.
I got a call one day, and it was my former boss asking me how to get business! He had started a company without any business prospects, and had no idea of how to get any! It was a sad call, because I could tell he hadn’t the first inkling of how business works. There was nothing I could do for him except hope that he could find another job when his life’s savings and borrowed money ran out. But for some of you, maybe I can help.
You’ve decided that you want to start an airgun business. Why? Simple — you like airguns, and you’d like to work around them all day instead of…well, you fill in the blank.
It’s an old story. Somebody decides they don’t like their current job, and they want to try something different. It’s a story that knows no boundaries of age, gender, or position in life. No matter who you are, at some time in your life the grass has looked greener on the other side of the fence. So, you check things out before making your move — good idea! You learn that in the field you want to enter, some are doing well and others are struggling.
People will always struggle
No matter when you look, there will always be some folks doing well and others struggling. That’s true in any field, at any time. There were successful people doing very well during the Great Depression, but their stories never get told because they don’t fit the pattern we’ve come to expect.
Right now, I know airgun companies that tell me the market is flat, that nobody is buying. I also know other companies that can’t keep up with the demand. Just remember, it’s always possible to succeed or fail. What should you do about that?
Unfortunately, this is where many people decide to close their eyes and hope that the whole thing is a crap shoot. That their chances are as good as anyone else’s. They sink a bunch of money into inventory and “hang out their shingle,” so to speak. They take out an ad or two and wait for the world to beat a path to their door. It never happens! It’s like putting a lemonade stand at the curb in the middle of January! Inside 6 months to 2 years, their money and patience has run out, airgunners are buying their stock at fire-sale prices — and they’re looking into model trains, fly-tying or divorce proceedings.
However, a few people have sensed that the REAL pathway to success is to specialize. They will avoid the mundane airguns every store carries and go for the exotic stuff. And, folks, there will ALWAYS be exotic stuff. If you turn over enough rocks, you’ll eventually find something that looks different. Maybe people would like something different. You know — new toys?
The trouble with different is that it isn’t always good. Sometimes, different is bad. Sometimes, you rediscover something somebody else found earlier and decided to leave it alone. If you pursue it, you may learn why.
It has to be good
It isn’t enough to be different; it has to be good, too. I have an advantage on most people, because hopeful airgun inventors bring their ideas and creations to me all the time in hopes of getting a little publicity. Most of these new things are so far off-base that I never mention them unless asked. But this article is a tutorial, so here’s an example of an idea that came to me several years back. A man called and told me he had discovered a secret energy source that would increase the power of any airgun EIGHT TIMES. It was simple to use and always produced the same great results.
When I asked him whether the eight times increase was in velocity or muzzle energy, he sounded puzzled. In a brief conversation, I discovered this man didn’t have the slightest idea of how force is measured in an airgun — or anything else. He just knew he could increase airgun performance eight times. As soon as he had all his patent protections, he would get back to me with a prototype to test. It’s now 20 years later, and I’m still waiting. There are many more stories about cockamamie inventions, but you get the point.
Well, then, how about competing on price? Yeah, sure. Like THAT hasn’t ever been done! If you’re going to compete on price, first read Sam Walton’s autobiography — then visit a Walmart or a Sam’s Club and find as many things wrong with the operation as you can.
What do I mean? I mean forget about competing on price. It’s been done. I’ve actually seen a person buy guns from an online discount airgun retailer, then sell them for LESS THAN HE PAID FOR THEM! His idea was to drum up business! Like jumpstarting the market. What he’ll do is drum up business for the online guy!
The reason the casinos never close in Las Vegas is because they never lose money. Oh, be stupid enough, and you can lose money under any circumstances, but the casinos aren’t stupid. The ones that were stupid aren’t open any more.
You can’t make money by losing it
You need to sell something that rewards you either for the risk you took to buy it and hold it, or for your time — or, hopefully, for both your risk and your time. That is what business is all about. You don’t “make money by spending it,” as some have come to believe.
So, what does it cost to do business? Okay, you have found a manufacturer in far-off Pangea who will sell you a breakbarrel air rifle for $60. Hurrah! You attempt to place an order, only to discover that they want you to buy one hundred of them at that price. No hundred, no deal.
Then it isn’t $60 any more, is it? It’s really $6,000.
Okay, you expected something like that. You have some savings, and your mom gives you a loan for the rest. Or, better still, you borrow on your gold card (that’s what you got it for, wasn’t it?).
You close the deal by sending your contact, Gort, an international money order for $6,000. Oh, we both know there’s shipping, but Gort promises to bill you for that.
He does. You just got a fax that your shipment is boxed and ready to go, all you have to do is send another 12,000 Pangean Stones, and it’ll be on it’s way!
Never mind what a Pangean Stone is! You’re getting a valuable lesson in both business and world economics. Wharton and Stanford would charge you many times what you’re paying, and the lesson wouldn’t be half as intense.
Now, you DO have to borrow from mom, because your VISA is maxed out. Fortunately, you’re the apple of her eye, and she writes you a check for $735.00 — the cost of 12,000 Stones, plus a little something for the bank for the transaction.
Then, you discover that there’s more to the transaction than you thought. Your local bank — the people who you’ve been banking with for 25 years — are suddenly not your friends anymore. You’re dealing with bank employees you’ve never seen before, and nobody knows anything for certain. They can tell you the rates on a 6-month CD, but that’s not what you want, is it?
Making a long story short, you finally send a lot more money to Gort. You send $41.45 more than necessary because the Pangean Stone is on a downward slide against the dollar, but what the hey!
You wait. Two weeks go by, and you hear nothing. You fax Gort, only to find that the number doesn’t work any more. You sweat. Your VISA bill comes, and you pay the interest — but you can’t charge another thing on it until you pay some of the principal. VISA loves you! Time passes.
Then, you get a fax from Gort. He got your money order, and it was for more than he needed, so he’ll credit your next order for 179 Stones. The guns are on their way as of last Thursday.
Happy days! You place a lengthy ad on the Yellow Classifieds web page using the photo Gort sent you. No sense spending money on a print ad when you’re trying to maximize profits, is there? You’ve decided that the guns look like they’re worth $150, so you’ll sell them for $149.95, and you’ll clean up! Nobody has a breakbarrel spring gun in the same class for anywhere near that price. You’ll make the difference between the sale price and, let’s see now, $60 per gun plus $12 for shipping, and you know there will be some customs, but you don’t know for sure how much. Say $25 to be safe. You will sell a gun for $150, and it only cost you $97. That’s a profit of $53 for every sale!
You wait. Your Yellow Classified ad is up and you renew it every day to keep it on the first page — but the guns aren’t here yet. The phone begins to ring, so you begin to take orders.
“They aren’t in stock? Well, when will you get them?”
“I expect them any day!” As you say this, you hear a conversation you once had with another importer who told you the same thing. You knew he was lying, and you told him so to his face (well, over the phone, anyway).
You pray this customer won’t do the same.
He doesn’t. He places an order. So do five other people out of 13 calls.
So, the money is rolling in. Not as fast as you’d like, perhaps, but things are just getting started.
You get a call from the port. Your guns are in!
You jump in the van and drive to the port the next day. Good thing you live nearby! You could have had a port agent handle things for you, but that would have cost extra, and you didn’t want to pay for the extra freight bill, either. So, you go to the port and get to learn how the shipping business works. The bill comes to $635.15 by the time you clear customs and get all the boxes into your van. You’re wet with sweat from loading the boxes (they wanted MONEY to help you load ’em!). But you finally have your guns. You were surprised to see what flimsy cardboard boxes they came in, but you figure that’s the way it must be done everywhere.
Now, you are an importer!
No, this is NOT the way it’s done everywhere! You have 41 guns so damaged by banging into each other that they can’t be sold as new. Wonder how Air Arms does it? Air Arms pays extra to have their guns packed in special triple-strong boxes. And, they eat guns, too — just not 41 percent!
You discover that the shipping insurance is $1,000 deductible. That’s why it only cost 12,000 Stones, instead of 14,500. It will take a minimum of eight months to get anything from the insurance company, and you fall asleep just thinking about it.
Suddenly, you find yourself able to converse with people in the sales departments at Crosman and Pyramyd Air on much more familiar ground. What they say about importing guns makes much more sense than it did in the past.
On the other hand, your customers don’t know squat about the airgun business. They offer advice (like they know!), and you realize they haven’t got a clue.
The guns are pretty much as described by Gort, except they aren’t very powerful and the triggers stick a little. Still, you begin to ship them and more orders come in. Then one of your customers calls to complain. His gun isn’t chronographing as fast as he’d expected.
“Your ad said it would go 1,000 f.p.s., but I’m getting only 615. I think that’s a little low, don’t you?”
“What pellet are you using?’
“I use only Beeman Kodiak Match.”
“Well, that’s a heavy pellet. The figure was for a light pellet.” Duh, doesn’t this guy KNOW?
“I use only Kodiak Match, and my gun isn’t performing up to spec. It’s not even close.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I’d like you to send me another gun. I’ll send this one back.”
You do, he does, and life goes on for three more days. Phone call.
“This is getting old. Don’t you test these things before you send them?”
“Hello to you, too. I’m going to guess that you’re the guy who called the other day and requested a replacement rifle. I’m further going to guess that you got it today.”
“This thing’s a piece of junk! It’s even slower than the first one. You should check these things before you send them.”
“I did! The rifle I sent you was the most powerful one I have.”
“Well, it doesn’t shoot Premier Heavies worth beans!”
“Premier Heavies? I thought you used only Beeman Kodiaks.”
“I sometimes use the Heavies, too, and this gun don’t shoot ’em at all.”
“What do you want to do?”
“Well, if this is the best you have, I don’t want it. I want my money back.”
“Okay. Send the gun back, and I’ll refund your money” (gladly!).
“I want all my shipping money back, too.” (They always do!)
“I can’t do that! I have to pay shipping, just the same as you.”
“Well, I’m not paying for two sets of shipping both ways!”
“I’ll split it with you. How’s that?”
“Well, if that’s the best you can do, I’ll take it.”
You settle this episode, as well as four other problems. And, you sold 21 rifles to people who never called back (thank God!). That leaves you with 41 broken guns, and 38 others that you could sell.
The ad on the Yellow Classifieds is still running, plus you put a small ad in Airgun Hobbyist magazine. This month, you get three calls from tire kickers — one of which you convert to a sale when you reduce the price of the gun to $125, plus free shipping. He lives in Hawaii, and the UPS bill is $41.00.
This becomes your new strategy — you’re selling ’em low to blow ’em out the door. “No tags back. All deals final! A double-dog dare that can’t be taken back. I’m rubber and you’re glue.” You revise your ad online, putting this policy in writing.
To your complete surprise, nobody wants one of your guns! Was it something you said?
Then, you get a call from Texas. Some guy asks if you want to sell the whole lot and be done with it. You wargame with him on the phone and figure you’re still down about $4,000, but even dumb old you knows that this guy is not going to give you that much for 37 Pangean breakbarrels — plus a bunch of junkers. He has to make money, too. Funny, you never thought about it this way when it was your money on the line.
He offers you $500 for the lot, and you pay the shipping. You’re insulted and hang up.
At this point, you have what we in business call “a bitter pill.” No matter what happens, you’ll have to do more work to settle it. When unknowing people ask you why you don’t just use the experience as a tax write-off, you walk away, too angry to explain that there has to be other money — real profit-type money — against which to write off something.
About this time, you get a fax from Gort. Would you like some more rifles? They are now making the new magnum model, which has even greater power and a much better trigger than the guns you bought.
Think that’s what it’s all about? Well, it isn’t.
It’s REALLY about five years later when you overhear somebody at an airgun show complaining about the Pangean rifles and what a rip-off they were. And you still have 15 good ones in your storage locker, along with a lifetime supply of spare parts.
Maybe the retail end just wasn’t for you. Now repairs — that’s where the REAL money is. Ha!
109 thoughts on “Starting your own airgun business”
Good story! But, I would STILL love to be in the business… Just a magically profitable business where someone paid me to test airguns. Yeah… that’s the ticket!
Wait a minute, I think you already have that gig.
Betcha B.B.’s dream job was twenty years in the making with a lot more lean times and hard work then we see. I’m guessing it’s the friends they have made that they enjoy most. Another deadline, another road trip, how bout them ten shot groups?
Lets hear it for all the hard work that lets the rest of have fun! Hip! Hip! Hooray! Thank you! I second HiveSeeker better to be the employee drawing the paycheck then the boss working/worrying 24/7. I think that those of us who love our work are blessed and never work a day in our lives. I think few employees think about all the work that goes on after hours that keeps the work coming in. If we all had to run a small business and pay taxes every quarter we might have a very different political climate in this country.
B.B.’s dream job was dropped in his lap one winter afternoon. I believe he’s written about this before. He was bemoaning the death of an airgun publication when I suggested that he start his own monthly newsletter. He said he didn’t know enough about airguns to write a monthly newsletter. So, I suggested that he do something I call “discovery writing.” You will discover the info along the way and write about your journey for your subscribers. Sometimes, you don’t have to be an expert. You can learn as you go. So, he took a legal pad and went away to make a list of things he could write about. An hour or so later, he came back with 3 pages of topics. We were off and running and have never looked back.
That said, I would say the most valuable experience Tom ever had as far as airguns is concerned was the time he spent as technical director at AirForce Airguns. The knowledge he gained about airgun production and manufacturing was priceless and continues to benefit him today.
Sometimes, the very thing you don’t want to do (go to work for someone else after having been self-employed for 15 years) turns out to be the thing that turns around your whole life. I had a similar experience from 2000-2002.
Serendipity has always played a major part in my life. Make the best of the opportunities that drop in your lap. Wish I’d known to spend more time doing what I was good at when I was younger. Makes work fun if you enjoy it. Paycheck is only one perk from a job. I think you two get back more than you put into it, definition of success in life. The fact you can make a living from it is gravy, important gravy, but gravy just the same.
So when do you think crosman’s gonna take another stab at the Rogue? And do you think big bores going mainstream is good for the sport, ie regulation? When is Leapers gonna come out with 1/2 mil bubble reticules? Howse that for bringing it back to airguns?
Once I was looking for some serendipity, but I found something else that was really cool instead!
Excellent suggestion! It’s definitely work-Everyday! But the outcome is numerous enriched lives, advancement in the sport and or hobby and a paycheck, all while such vast knowledge of safety, technique, upgrades and new products, repair & maintenance and daily adventure is shared at such a pace that the Archives are a necessity to allow for our different absorption rates. I just wish writing wasn’t such work! At least for me it is.
Very well said and I have thoughts of starting a airgun repair business myself but it is that exact report you just went thru that has me cautious and uneasy in trying to do so. I get some work here and there and do the best job I can for a reasonable price and hope for word of mouth to help accelerate the business coming in and it works at time and at times it does not so I am not the brave type to risk savings or credit to try and get it rolling faster.
So I have to be satisfied with piece meal work and hope it gets better, but in the back of my mind I know it won’t until I can offer something that is different and what a lot of people want or need. I hope in time I can get some machine equipment so that I can start making some parts that people are wanting or needing to slowly and hopefully gain some momentum in drawing more customer s and work.
Start small and only grow at the rate your business requires to build and fulfill the demand with supply.
Still laughing about this one. Consider…the basis of all humor Is truth.
If it ain’t essentially true, it ain’t essentially funny.
I’ll offer a few…observations, but in no way tell all of them because you may be my esteemed and respected competetor next time around. (The living Sensei never tells all he knows, that’s why he’s still living.)
1: To the budding young potential business maven, for God’s sake, do the “Cookie Computation!” I’m always amazed to learn (from say my little brother, as an example,) how few bother to figure how many cookies they have to sell every day..that’s EVERY DAY…to make a living.
2: Assuming you want to keep your Parents, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles, etc., NEVER borrow money from a family member. If you happen to be a Parent, Sibling, Aunt, Uncle, personal friend, etc, and you want to maybe keep the supplicant, NEVER loan them money, nor co-sign. NEVER
Do loan them money and I guarantee the learning experience will be very, very mutual and none will be happy.
‘Gonna by mighty lonely afterwards if things don’t go well.
3: Credit can be remarkably easy to come by. Bear in mind lenders have been lending for multiple
thousands of years. They’re WAY better at taking your money than you are at keeping it. Proceed accordingly and consider all your own purchases as COD, which will go a long way towards keeping you out of trouble.
4: Know whe to quit. Were you to chose a dying business
Sorry about that, the snoozing Terrier really did push the “post comment” button. No, really, he did…
4: knowing when to quit has to do with buying a viable concern providing service and hard goods that people actually want to give you money to provide. In my case, that was a camera store (remember those?) and it lasted 15 years.
Kind of like corded phones or, for that matter, phone booths.
The DAY came when it became obvious the viable part of the business was not in a temporary slump but rather a terminal spin.
Unfortunately, most small biz types don’t recognize or are in denial when this ultimately transpires.
Anybody want to buy a buggy-whip?
In my case, I hit the “EJECT” button and became probably the last small biz independent camera store ownet to sell the business rather than “close the doors and go home.”
Among the lessons to be learned, “Don’t just love your love, but rather know your love, beauty, grace, farts, and all…”
Now that I think of it, likely approprate for an air-gun site:)
Having been in business for oneself and having learned all of the lessons the hard way, I too have been most hesitant to try and turn a hobby into a living. I too occasionally dream of setting up a shop and build airguns for a living, but I know better. Now, if I can get my hobby to be self supporting, we may revisit that dream.
I presume the best money might be found where your profit is generated by your time and elbow grease, not your money already tide up. An extracurricular service with minimum overhead, maximum satisfied customers, and quality work with attention to detail and personal command from the customer. Id like to refinish stocks and cut springer barrels, but that’s just me.
Just the opposite. When you sell a service, you sell your own hours. There is a finite number of them. But there is no limit to the number of airguns that can be sold.
I worked for several small business owners throughout college, and for the owners it was a 24/7 job to make it work. I was always quite happy to take orders from someone else, and then clock out at 5 to head home and do what I wanted to do. I think you have to have good foresight, understand your field of business, and be a real go-getter to make it work. A lot depends on starting to get known by the consumers, so that as a group they’re aware of your company. And fortune also seems to play a scarily large role on the road to success. For a very interesting watch, check out “The Men Who Built America”.
Thinking of going into business? You first need to understand the following terms:-
Also read up on:-
Pay attention to the details or you will die a slow painful (financial) death.
Thanks Hiveseeker I’ll try to find that show, and, Pete, Lol, I will actually look up all those things, never ashamed to learn something. BB- I have 20 usable hours in each day, more them airguns Id sell but Id never want to sell them, PA has that covered, I just want to make the 100 springers look, and shoot, to a very limited extent, no internals, like a 400$
Well told BB. I did sell airguns for a time as a low budget operation. My supplier was Compasseco, I sold them mostly to people I worked with, it was a large operation so there were lots of potential customers. I made a little money and had some fun. But, I sure don’t want to try to do it full time. One of the best ways to ruin a hobby is to turn it into a business!
Your right! Deadlines and labor and heckle n hassle over something you love and feel free… nevermind. I’ll just do stocks for friends.
I heard a rumor that eventually an all-CHROME version of the Benjamin Armada Magpul will be released with optional Christmas tree tinsel, pop can pull tabs, and Juicy-fruit wrappers.
It will be dubbed the MAGPIE.
The floor under the Christmas tree will never be the same again!
I was going to give examples of when I worked on musclecars and drag cars for people. And some examples with the R/C airplanes. And also examples of some airguns I have worked on for people.
But there is just to many different circumstances that came up. But I do know one thing for sure. Whatever it is that you do or whatever product you make or whatever product you sell you have to make sure the customer totally understands what you have to offer. And to sell a product you have to totally understand what the customer wants. No guessing involved at all. And what you have to offer has to be right or done right. If its not you better be able to back up that product or service you offered. I found the best way to do business is if you put yourself in the customers shoes and you ask yourself over and over in every instance if you would be happy with what your money just got spent on.
That’s a hard thing to do though because everybody is a individual. No 2 people think the same no matter what you would like to believe. But i bet if your in business you have to bite the bullet if you will and given more times than you like. If your starting a business its not as simple as hitting the go button. And there is more things you will learn running a business then what a person even think about writing a book on.
And then sales and marketing. I remember what the owner of the machine shop I work at said when we were in a engineering meeting one time when we were discussing some new parts we were going to start making. We had to take one hard to make part from the customer to get the other two easy to make parts. One of the engineers didn’t like the idea. The owner very nicely said to him if you don’t think you could sell a Eskimo a refrigerator then you don’t need to be working here. Then he said we will take all 3 parts and we will make them better than what they want and we will be the machine shop known for being able to make the hard parts. All I can say is I know that we still make parts for that customer and they have referred other customers to us. And that was about 10 year after I started working there that I was in that meeting. By the way that I will never forget. And now 20 years later we still make parts for them and we have to now turn work away because just don’t have enough equipment or people to do it.
All I can say is business is definitely a learning experience and if you ain’t ahead of the rest of the competition you will be left behind.
And sorry for such a long read.
You’re right! We used to have a couple guys that would try to specialize in jobs they knew they couldn’t screw up, in the guise that at least we didn’t have to fix what they’d just fixed.
We were all considered contract labor and the easy jobs that paid well were the cherries these guys were picking and still needed help with- of course anyone can do the easy stuff but when you can do the hard stuff you get that money too and then you can have your dessert.Before long we were getting calls trying to reserve certain techs for when they could come in. Guess who made more money? It wasn’t just me but the owner saw fit to shuffle the staff so there was always one problem solver at all 3 shops.Then came #4 and it was gone in the blink of an eye.The property was inexpensive and the contractor gave a good estimate for the building but the clientele had no money to fix their cars because the shop was located in a section 8 neighborhood and mostly wanted air in their tires.
And I know from being in those meetings you also have to know when to say no to a customer.
The customer may go away mad or maybe not but if they have any sense they will no you told the truth or they will learn that you did soon enough. And they may even come back to you and ask you to make their product or do the work for them when they found out why you told the truth.
I’m pretty sure you will have a better relationship with that customer that way.
I know your busy there at the event but I was going to ask something and forgot. But now I remember. 🙂
Did you ever say what gun you were going to be shooting in field target. And one more question. What pellet are you using? Or is the pellet choice top secret info. 🙂
He told Duskwight he’d be shooting his TX200
That’s right. The TX200. I don’t know which pellet he’s going to choose. If memory serves, he always used to shoot Crosman Premiers in the box. Don’t know if those will be his choice this time around.
Edith and Reb
I must of missed BB saying.
I was just wondering what pellet because I know BB has said the TX shoots them all pretty good. I was thinking he took his best pick of the crop if he’s competing. But I’m thinking from the way I hear BB talk nowdays he’s there for the fun of it. But I sure don’t want to put words in his mouth. I bet there is some competiveness still in his blood. 😉
Tom will be returning to shooting field target next year with one of our local clubs. There’s one not far from us.
I don’t know if he’s competitive, but he enjoys doing something other than testing guns. Shooting should be fun, and field target is one way he can enjoy guns.
I was reading the blog for a while before I started commenting. I don’t know why I did it that way but I did.
But think that amazes me is how much time you and BB put into just this blog alone among all the other things of life that has to be done. So I often wondered if he still enjoys shooting the air guns after all the time he puts in.
I guess when there is something you love to do you will always find something to enjoy about it.
And I’m going to ask a question and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. But is airguns your hobby or do you have other hidden hobby’s?
I was introduced to shooting & airguns by Tom in 1983, less than a year after we were married.
I enjoy writing marketing copy. In a way, you could say writing persuasive copy to sell products is kind of a hobby. I read books about selling, marketing, the psychology of selling and how to write influential sales copy. I don’t care which product I’m writing about as long as my copy sells products (although I will not lie or exaggerate in my copy — I have to believe in the product or I won’t write about it).
My hobbies have always been needlework — sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidery. I used to make all my own clothing. I have no time for these, and that’s how it’s been for several decades. I don’t know if I can still legitimately call these my hobbies since I haven’t participated in them for a really long time!
One of my biggest problems is that all our rooms are loaded with guns or related items. The room that was supposed to be my sewing room is now called the gun room. I need a bigger house!
There’s always the outside office. My neighbor has a nice 20X30 one filled with woodworking tools,a sink, coffee pot, & radio. My Dad had one as well.
I’ve gotta come up with $68 for the building permit and consult with city engineers before I start sinking holes but I’ve got the 4″X 4 posts and tin for the roof-New laundry room Or workshop?
Reb, we used to call it a garage…when you could still get the cars in it.
Your hobby plus Tom’s hobby equals more space for the cats!
Now let me see if I can explain this equation (been spending way too much time on common core math) so it will make sense.
You write the copy, Tom trades ( sells ) the guns equals more space for the bonus room, which your cats will take over. Isn’t that one of the laws of entropy. (where’s one of our physicist cat owners on the forum when we need them?) All you have to remember is trade for cash or at least one fewer rifle or pistols for rifles. Have you thought about minatures?
Ps- don’t tell tom it was my idea. Besides I’m starting to need to find another place to hide my toys, I mean investments.
Besides I think none of the boys and girls here would mind having that problem.
Yeah, selling guns to make room isn’t an option. Also, Tom has lots of ammo and reloading supplies. Like your garage, we put stuff in there instead of our cars.
The cats love the gun room and the garage. Every nook & cranny, every box, every surface becomes a new place to crash. They seem very happy.
Edith them are all cool hobby’s. And I would still for sure call them hobby’s even if you don’t get to do them as much anymore.
I still have a few that I don’t get to do as much as I use to but still call them my hobby.
And at least you didn’t say get rid of some of the gun’s. Its always nice to think of a bigger house but what do you think would happen. 🙂
I stared out by reading about modifications and then got interested in guns I had missed during my hiatus from airgunning, then had to be a member in order to post a question so I spent about 6-8 months in the archives before I ran across the 3120 that brought me to this blog.
I believe( thankfully) most people feel obligated to themselves to do enough researching before asking any questions or making any statements, so that they don’t sound like total baffoons. 🙂
I sure hate to sound like a baffoon that’s for sure. 🙂
It’s happened to me before, best I can do is try not to let it happen again.
I failed to understand and learn from your article…what type of airgun business will be successful?
In Tip #1 Exotic airguns won’t sell, in Tip #2, new ideas/inventions won’t sell and not profitable in low price war, in Tip #3 Being a middle man or retailer won’t profit.
B.B.’s in Ohio at the Pyramyd Air Cup event and won’t be able to address your comment til later tonight or this weekend.
I’ve started posting some pictures of the Pyramyd Air Cup event. You can find them on Tom’s Twitter, Google+ and Facebook accounts. As far as I know, you don’t need a Facebook account to see anything on Tom’s page. Here’s the link:
Thanks for sharing Edith! Someone could easily follow the blog on that page! I hope it brings in many new members.I liked it so now I’m double hooked-up.If I ever go MIA again, at least I’ll be watching from the cheap-seats.
Howdy Ms. Edith, You truly are, a gem. Thanx for ALL you do, girl. Have a great weekend.
Besides all the pictures Tom’s been sending me, he’s also sent me 2 videos, which I just posted on Google+ and Facebook.
Tom’s still sending me pictures of the Pyramyd Air Cup events, and I’ve uploaded some more today and will continue to do so on Sunday, too.
Thanks for the pictures! Has Tom reported how he’s doing in the competition? I saw one of the competitors is using a CO2 powered Crosman rifle in the competition. I didn’t think that CO2 rifles were powerful enough for most field target competition distances.
Tom will start a report on the Pyramyd Air Cup events with tomorrow’s blog.
Regarding his field target score: Let’s just say he’s falling on the grenade by missing a lot of targets — to make the other competitors feel better about their scores 🙂
I just knew BB was one of those nice guy’s and was going to let the other guy’s win. 😉
Shoulda brought the Whiscombe!
I can’t imagine that Tom would ever hand over a hard case with a Whiscombe to the airlines. He’d ship me air freight before he’d ship the Whiscombe! 🙂
That’s when the motorcycle & sidecar come into play.
It looked like a Crosman 160 or 180 with a 20″ barrel or so.Probably spitting out .177 @ about 650fps or .22 @ about 500 or better. Should be good for 40-60 yards or thereabout anyway.
Just looked again and it looks more like a 24″ barrel so up those figures by 50 fps.
Yeah, Tom’s caption says it’s a Crosman 160. I’ve never tried to shoot a CO2 powered pellet rifle farther than 10 meters, but I’ve been doubtful whether even with an extra long barrel like 24″ that it could propel a .177 pellet as far 75 to 100 yards with any reasonable accuracy. In the brief video Tom posted, the announcer said the kill zones were 1 1/2″ at each of 50, 75, and 100 yards. Maybe a Crosman 160 in the hands of a skilled shooter could hit that 1 1/2″ at 50 yards, but I would be very surprised to see it hit at 75 and 100 yards.
It would be a challenge but that’s part of the game.
There is a gun I have that I shoot that sets the standard for the other guns I have.
When I pick up that gun that shoots right in all circumstances 99% of the time it tells me if one of the other guns is having a problem or if the wind is blowing in a unusual way. It hits all the time is what I’m saying.
I guess what I’m getting at is there are people out there that got their guns figured out and are confident they can make the different shots that are thrown at them.
One of these days I’ll get my houseboat then I’ll search for that Marauder.
I know you will. 🙂
Lots of perfect shots to you!
I’m going in search of my “lots” at 50 m with re-tuned C62 tomorrow morning. At -8 it’s going to be really cool 🙂
Do you want to unload a few of Tom’s unfired Pangean airguns before he gets back? 🙂
Nice try 🙂
Never fired and only dropped once!
But your wrong.
Only fired 10 shots at a time unless otherwise noted. And watch out for the break barrel guns that have been tested for cocking pressure.
Especially the ones with Hazmat labels on ’em! 🙂
Thanks for the care package! I almost shot you an E-mail today. I found a Stainless spring guide at the scrap yard a while back that’s a very tight fit in my QB-36 and consulted with B.B. on proper installation. I’m gonna deep-freeze the guide an pop the spring in the toaster for a very tight fit but I’d also like to button the piston while I’m in this time.
What are you using for buttons on your pistons? If you’re buying them somewhere could you please share the info?
Had to lighten up on the 392 testing today.It wound up putting 5 Monsters in 1.3″ but I grabbed the 36 to see if I could pinpoint the buzz, it’s not as bad as it was before the lube-tune but there’s still some there and I’d like to see just how well I can tune it. It’s still putting 10 in 3/4″@ 20 yds or better.The pellet always hits within 1/4″ of poa when I get my part done.
I haven’t used any buttons or shims un any of my guns, I don’t like the idea of adding anything in the area of the piston and its movement, if anything Id like to check out what drilling holes in the piston to lighten it for faster compression, but that’s not something to do without a chrony, drill em one at a time and check the power ad you go. When I get inside I just clean and polish, grease accordingly and that’s about it.
RifleDNA, You gotta bite the bullet & get a chrony! As much as you like to modify springers? You’re missing one of the most valuable tools!
The 1.3″, was thats 20 yards too right? Those monsters are something else, they were to much for the np but might work out with the pnuematic. Glad you like the package, figured you could see the target for yourself instead of trying to print em out, could just copy it now. Pretty cool though huh? I thought they were perfect for comparing pellets, or backing up and having pellet drop right on the same paper! Want believe I didn’t think of that til just now!
Yep 20 yards and they were all touching and stuck straight into the plywood backer about 1/4″ deep with 8 pumps and livened up the report a little too. I wonder if 14 pumps would be enough more speed to stabilize them out to 25-30. The way they printed on the target reminded me of a Turkey givin’ me the evil eye out his right eye
I live in the huge population Los Angeles metropolitan area and I know of only one airgun store, Mac 1 in Gardena. It’s about 50 miles away and I haven’t been there for a long time but I believe their doing alright.
I think most airgun sales here are from Pyramyd or other internet stores or Walmart for beginner types.
I was looking at the American Airguns main web page and I found an airgun store called “Air-Venture Airguns” and I think it is located in the greater Los Angeles area. I think it is a brick & mortar store, go check it out.
Mac1 is a mainly custom airgun store and sells and does exotic and one of a kind air gun stuff and may sell everyday air guns, but his main business is custom work and you can get a idea of what he offers at this link.
Check it out and if you are only 50 miles away it would be worth the drive to see it in person.
I failed to understand and learn from your article…what type of airgun business will be successful?
B.B. is in Ohio at the Pyramyd Air Cup event. He has precious little time to answer blog comments and is doing the best he can. He may not be able to answer your comments until he comes home later on Monday.
Pretty straightforward. I said it has to be good and then, “You need to sell something that rewards you either for the risk you took to buy it and hold it, or for your time — or, hopefully, for both your risk and your time. That is what business is all about.”
Thank you for responding. When you said good, do you mean an airgun has to be well made or looks beautiful or accurate or has many features or innovative (having a feature no other airgun currently has)?
Accurate. Smooth. Good trigger. Easy to use.
Anybody remember the guy I showed building a rimfire shooter out of an Airsoft gun? I may have found out why the ending was so abrupt:
Sure enough! I finally found it on the Diana 72 youth rifle blog and the link is now identical to the one above. Sounds like the YT video has been seized as evidence in the case to me.
I don’t think I would trust firing a powder burning cartridge in a plastic air soft gun and we wonder why products from china are suspect for quality. That’s a prime example and give a new meaning to the plastic Glocks so many people like.
It reminds me of the kid a while back that got arrested for making a 357 caliber pistol on a 3-d printer out of plastic that actually would shoot a 357 cartridge I just don’t know if was only good for one shot and if your hand would still be attached to your arm.
I wanted to watch it again! He pulled it off well enough to get a buncha people in trouble! You really had to watch the video to catch how he did it.I’m sure the video was used as a marketing tool for the kits. I probably watched it a half dozen times or more before I finally brought it up and eventually shared it here shortly after my stay at the hospital. I had no idea it was that big a mess but I’m sure the Feds saw it long before I ever did because it was a very simple search I did outta curiosity.
Did you see the CF tanks and fill hose kit on the 2400 kt blog yet? I thought I was sharing it on the current blog but Oops!
Ok call me what you will.
I know what 3D printers can do.
But what was their original intent? What was it suppose to be used for?
I would have liked to seen that airsoft gun shooting real bullets and as far as a marketing tool it would be good till one blew up in his hands then the marketing would be over.
Yea got the CF tanks in the watch list, its a good deal if it stay at that price.
The one he converted in the video I shared was a High end full metal(albeit Die-cast) and he used an over the counter .45 to .22 upper conversion kit. His claim was to show the manufacturers why they shouldn’t build guns so close to spec.It was different! That’s why I shared it.I had another video of a guy who built a AK-47 outta a shovel and used the D-handle as the buttstock.
Edith, Thank you for allowing this to be shared! It’s certainly changed since I saw it last. I can see many reasons for not allowing it but it’s not what it was( maybe the gubbamint didn’t like it either).
3-D printers were originally designed to be able to make prototype parts in plastic quick and easy with a very easy and affordable program that you can use a computer to design a part much like CAD-CAM programs and then send the finished three dimensional drawing to a printer that use plastic nozzles to print out a exact copy of the part you designed on the computer in a mater of minutes depending on the complexity of the part and can be made to be a working copy of the real thing except it is plastic instead of metal.
it could be used to verify a design in plastic before you were sent the program to input in one of your CNC machines at work to make the part in metal.
So the intended use was good.
I want one to build a new battery compartment door for my remote.
I have 3 or 4 remotes that need new battrery hatch covers!
My 3-way LED trouble light is the one that hurts the most.It’s good for about 10 hours of night fishing, but it’s tough to find the batteries in the dark, in the weeds because someone didn’t remember to grab it just right. Especially without a flashlight! I:
Yes it was intended to be for good. See Baron Wulfraed better description below. I new what they were and intended to be used for but did not know how they worked and Baron tells it far better than I can.
I suspect the one the kid used was the newer on that uses that use the powdered metal and laser sintering process, I still would not want to hold it when pulling the trigger.
There are different grades of feeder stock
shows four different types of stock. I believe PLA can be rather firm when done — milling the stuff can leave sharp splinters compared to ABS (styrene)
Yea I knew what they were but that’s it and the link is cool and scary at the same time. I mean there is a whole lot of good stuff that can be done with them, but on the other hand they can be used for bad things also just like that kid did by making a gun with one even if it only shot one time it could not be traced or could hurt some unintended person that thought it was a toy.
But that is the price of technology I guess as there will always be people out there to take advantage of a good thing and use it for bad purposes.
As mentioned, engineering mock-ups (this is what it will look like), possibly replacement parts for some stuff (the housing of my remote just fell apart).
The first generation tended to use liquid and a laser. Where the laser hit, the liquid would harden. Do a layer, lower the platform, do the next layer.
The “Maker” type uses something like a spool of styrene plastic and a heated tip — think a hot-melt glue gun with a tip small enough for 150-300 dots per inch.
But new commercial rigs are getting even more capable. GE is using a metal powder/laser-sintering process to make fuel injection nozzles for jet engines — one 3-D printed part rather than a complex of 30 odd parts that have to be assembled later.
The Maker type sounds like a 3-D tatoo artist.
I don’t think that the plastic or the other process would be good for a hi stress environment.
I could see something like the trigger grip assembly for a 2240 would be ok or baffles for a shroud. Or a single shot tray.
I see where the 3D printer could be good. But like anything else it could be bad in the wrong hands.
One that could be loaded up for various grades of synthetic for both plastics and rubber compounds reminiscent of the old science kits would find it’s way up my short list real quick.
And my glue-gun simile gets even more real…
Hammacher-Schlemmer is selling a unit the size of a Dremel tool, which exudes plastic (rather than glue). They mention using flat patterns to draw stuff, and then joining it together (illustration is the Eiffel Tower).
Well today I shoot the second half of the field target match at the Pyramyd Air Cup. Yesterday was interesting and informative. After the match I learned from some of the competitors that the little steel animals are supposed to fall when hit. Apparently scaring them isn’t good enough. I shall resume the match with this latest information and a clean slate upon which to record my success.
Seriously, though, this has been a wonderful weekend for me. Not only are the people super and the venue beautiful, but I have learned a lot about what is happening with airguns. It’s good to actually talk to folks who shoot airguns every once in awhile!
Returning with renewed interest and lots of new stuff to do and talk about! Good stuff coming.
Good Luck B.B.! Game -Face on. Take no prisoners!
Sounds good BB. And sounds like your having a good time. And the event must be doing good.
And yep I here them little steel animals can be quite ferocious. 😉
Gunfun, I had asked a question regarding the substitution of N2o for Co2 earlier that somehow didn’t show up but I found the answer and posted it at the bottom. Could you please check it out and straighten the answers out for our readers(me)?Is that bottle really @ 1500psi @ 100F? I know the racers had warming blankets for them even here in Texas.
On the drag cars that we were running nitrous on we had the bottle heaters also. I never had a temperature gauge on the bottle so I don’t know how warm it got. But we would heat the bottle to 1200 psi and do the burn out with only the engine. Pull up to the starting line and light the one small yellow light to pre-stage. At that point we would purge the nitrous down to 900 psi then pull up and stage with the 2nd little yellow light lit.
We did that so the fuel and nitrous would maintain a consistent air fuel ratio mix. If your bottle was higher on the psi it put to much nitrous through the orifice and made the motor run lean. Ka boom if you get to lean. If the pressure was below 900 psi the engine would be rich. So the heating and purging helped keep the engine together and helped keep your air/fuel mix and the run consistent.
But I do know one other thing that the nitrous solenoid has different seals in it than the fuel solenoid. Any of the solenoids I worked on had a black seal that resembles the o-rings in our air guns. The nitrous solenoid had a white gray colored seal. I’m not sure what the material was but I’m guessing they used it to withstand the 7 to 12 second burst of the cold nitrous.
So maybe the o-rings would all need changed in a air gun if you was to use nitrous. And as far as the gun heating up I don’t think nitrous would be any different than Co2. I could be wrong though about the differences of the 2 gasses. Nitrous isn’t flammable its a super cold oxygen adder. So as long is there is no ignition source it probably could be used.
But don’t try it because of what I just said. I could be missing something.
HaHa….I ran across my old Gamo Whisper this weekend while cleaning out the basement. After shooting the TX200 for the last year it was a big step backwards. I scared more targets than I hit. I think the Gamo will go up for sale.
I saw that theme repeated over and over at the Cup. I will have a whole blog about using what works.
I had a hard time swallowing this without chewing thoroughly first so I looked it up on Snopes.
Let’s see what Ya’ll think.
I don’t see the question I posed to this answer so let’s play it like Jeopardy. Maybe it’ll show up in a bit.