Why?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• How an airgun is designed
• Chinese menu
• TX200 — a study in airgun design
• Well, what about Feinwerkbau?
• How the Bronco came to be
• Today’s message

This report was inspired by blog reader Joe, who asked this question yesterday, “Why is it that the TX200 can shoot smoother with less vibration right out-of-the-box, then any other brand of airgun such as Weihrauch, Diana, and this FWB sport?”

Good question, Joe. A lot of other readers asked the same thing in different ways. For example, several of you have said, “I’d like to see Crosman take the Marauder and convert it into a multi-pump pneumatic, like the FX Independence, only not costing so much.”

Sure, we would all like to see that. And while “they” are at it, why doesn’t General Motors build a 3/4-scale Corvette that looks like the real car but gets 28 m.p.g. and costs only $30,000? Don’t “they” know that’s what people want?

Let’s talk about that. First of all, “they” are people just like the rest of “us.” Some are smart, so not so much. Some are young and some are close to being on Medicare. “They” are a mix of people so much like “us” that you would never notice them if they walked into the room.

How an airgun is designed
There are lots of different ways that an airgun gets designed. The rarest of them all is the blank sheet of paper. It almost never happens.

Chinese menu
A lot of times, the company whose name is on the gun had very little to do with its design. Someone from a Chinese airgun factory came to them and told them what they could build. How much influence the company had over the design they were about to buy with their name on it depended on how many articles they were willing to order. If they wanted only 1,000 rifles, they didn’t get much choice. If they guaranteed a purchase of 10,000 articles over the next year, they could have almost anything they wanted — sometimes, even things the airgun manufacturer didn’t yet know how to do (but for an order of 10,000, they’re willing to try almost anything).

Other times, the company does get heavily involved in the design of the airgun. They may even be the ones building it. But that doesn’t mean they have a clean sheet of paper. First of all, the marketing and sales team may have input into the new rifle. They’ll tell engineering that the rifle “has to shoot a minimum of 1,000 f.p.s., or no one will buy it.”

Before you point out that you would be willing to buy an air rifle that shoots at 900 f.p.s., please understand that there are only a few thousand of you — while there are at least 10 million potential customers for this new gun who visit their sporting goods chains or big box discount stores regularly. Who is the company going to build the new gun for — 10 thousand or 10 million? If you want to keep your job, 10 million is the right answer.

TX200 — a study in airgun design
If that’s true, where does a TX200 Mark III come from? Well — it comes from a very rare phenomenon. A big company decides to start building airguns for whatever reason, and they hire a real airgunner to run the new company. He knows what’s possible, so he doesn’t build another 1,000 f.p.s. breakbarrel. Instead, he takes a proven design and turns it into something that can also be produced. And, no, it wasn’t the HW77 that he redesigned. What he looked at was the $2,000 handmade Venom Mach II made by Ivan Hancock (Ivan had looked at the HW77 to design the Mach II), and he asked, “How can we turn this $2,000 rifle into something that can be produced for a reasonable amount of money?” Hancock built each of his rifles by hand, and they show it. Building the same thing on a production line is a real trick.

However, they do just that and start selling their new rifles — all the while customers are complaining that the new guns cost way too much! Sure, they do! They’re retailing for $275 (late 1980s) at a time when Chinese rifles are selling for just $30. Compared to the guns coming out of Factory No. 2 in China, the new rifles cost 8-10 times as much for seemingly the same thing. Only, it’s not the same thing, and there are 10,000 people in the world (today — not in 1989) who are educated enough to know it — of whom, perhaps, 500 will spend the sort of money the new gun costs.

Those 500 people will become very vocal over the next several years, causing others to take the risk and buy the new gun, too. Before you know it, 2 decades have passed and 9,000 rifles have been sold. The price is now over $600. At the same time, Factory No. 2 has shipped 250,000 rifles to the U.S. in numerous 40-foot containers, so guys could buy them for $169 at the discount store. And, then, they raved all over the internet at the 1-inch, 3-shot groups they got at 10 yards! And, when the TX200 owners tried to tell them about how nice their rifles were, they were met with a stone wall of derision.

Joe asked me how the TX200 could be so smooth and the typical Weihrauch, Diana and even the new FWB Sport not be. The answer is design. The TX200 uses a central air transfer port, compared to all the others that use an offset port. That means you get more power from less piston stroke. The TX200 uses special tight-fitting rotary bearings around its piston, front and rear. The others use just the piston seal as the front bearing and rely on metal-to-metal contact in the rear. The TX piston is free to rotate 360 degrees around its central axis; the other rifles pistons are held in one orientation. I could continue, for there certainly are more things to compare, but the point is that the TX was designed to be as smooth and powerful as it is, and the other rifles were designed as breakbarrel spring rifles have always been.

I could build a college-level airgun design course around a study of the TX200, but that isn’t the purpose of today’s report. Suffice to say that Air Arms pulled out all the stops to make the smoothest-shooting air rifle they could at a price many people could afford. Not the cheapest gun, which is a point that many people don’t understand. They knew that what they were going to make would stretch a lot of budgets; but to build it the way they had to, it also had to cost some real money.

Well, what about Feinwerkbau?
Why am I cutting FWB so much slack as I test their new Sport rifle? I’m doing it because I know Feinwerkbau and the guns they make. Their 124 also buzzed a lot when it was new, and it certainly didn’t have a nice trigger. But those faults can easily be corrected, and at its heart lies a superbly accurate air rifle. I think the same will hold true with the Sport. From what I’ve seen thus far, it does.

“But, why doesn’t Feinwerkbau look at a TX200 and learn how to build spring guns right?” Well, you might also ask why Corvette doesn’t look at Ferrari and do the same thing? Or why is a $10,000 Rolex wristwatch less accurate than an $800 Citizen Eco-Drive?

Folks, there are no simple answers for any of these questions. Trying to find simple answers is a waste of time since we don’t have insight into what’s happening at the company whose products we’re questioning. But there’s something we can do that does have value.

We can look at the design of the thing we’re examining and see if it has potential for enhancement, or if it’s been designed into a brick wall. I see a lot of potential in the FWB Sport, which is why I’m cutting it a lot of slack. I believe we will see some remarkable tunes based on this rifle in the future — the good bones are all there.

How the Bronco came to be
Finally, I’ll tell you about how the Bronco was designed. That’s a different kind of an airgun design — one that sprang from a gun already in production. I saw a youth gun that Mendoza made that was so dog-ugly no American airgun dealer would stock them, and nobody who saw one would buy it. It was called the Bronco RM-10. The stock had a huge kidney-shaped cutout in the butt that looked odd, plus the pull was only about 10 inches. Pyramyd Air wouldn’t stock it because they felt it wouldn’t sell, and I agreed, but I asked them to send their sample to me anyway.

I found a beautiful little barreled action inside that strange stock. It was accurate, light-cocking and had Mendoza’s fabulous two-bladed trigger that has such a nice pull. So inside the ugly duckling stock there was a beautiful young swan waiting to get out.

I had the sample restocked with a western style stock that has a 12-3/4-inch pull. I asked Mendoza to lengthen the muzzlebrake and get rid of the fiberoptic sights. And, finally, I asked them to not drill the external oil hole in the spring tube. We kept the Bronco name because it sounded nice, and we packaged the rifle in a plain brown box that had a western theme on the outside.

I advised Pyramyd Air where I felt the price needed to be, and they have held it there from day one. When the Bronco first came out, there wasn’t much competition; but within a year, several other companies were offering youth sporting air rifles — all at lower cost. They were poor copies of the Bronco — but they cost less, so they did sell.

The sad thing is, Mendoza has announced that a price increase is coming that spells the end of the Bronco. Pyramyd Air is now sitting on the last batch of rifles they’ll ever get. So, things go away and new things come.

Today’s message
Today’s message is this: Don’t criticize a company for what they make unless you have all the facts. It’s fine to criticize the product, because it is whatever it is. But how it got there is another story.

Maybe, some day, we’ll hear about a new company and how they got their start. Perhaps Dave Rensing of R.A.I., the folks that make those adapters to put adjustable stocks on Crosman air pistols, will share with us how he started his company and some of the bumps he’s suffered along the way.

146 thoughts on “Why?

  1. So until the Chinese and other manufacturers can be given a good economic reason to change how and what they manufacture they will not do anything but build as they have always done as they are able to sell anyhow. How I could wish that a simpler way of manufacturing would yield a better product. Unfortunately the opposite is what actually happens. Simpler manufacturing leads to a cheaper but worse product.


    • Not always. We have simplified the design and how we manufacture some of our equipment and have reduced our cost and improved what the customer is purchasing. It does require a commitment to offering only a quality product and a realization that you can only bring the cost down so much or the quality will suffer.

      We do such a good job that the Chinese copy our equipment right down to the paint color and company logo and sell a system for one third what we charge.


      • I am thankful for such exceptions to the rule. Although it is unfortunate that your innovations were copied (some may say it is a compliment) hopefully the copies were faithful to the point that it does not tarnish your company.


  2. BB
    I found this article very interesting and informative on the progression of air gun design and development. I know I have bashed the new FWB pretty good here and do realize that it can be tuned to fix the buzz, but u still feel for the price they are asking and the reputation of the name behind the gun that there quality control is just not where it should be in my opinion to let a gun get out with this issue.
    On the two analogies of building a 3/4 scale corvette to get 28MPG and only cost 30,000 dollars they do accomplish the first one in the full size car as it will get 28MPG if you drive it sensibly, but they are way over 30,000 dollars. The second one about why doesn’t Corvette look at Ferrari and do the same thing is way off base as Corvette has been beating Ferrari for several years now in the Grand Am Rolex racing series and also the American Lemans Racing series. The truth be told Corvette was required to detune their engines output from 638 HP down to 450 HP to allow Ferrari and most other European and British car to be able to compete against with a fair advantage. Corvette has won the 24 hours of Daytona and the 24 hours of Lemans against Ferrari’s and all other British and European cars several times as well as many of the shorter races in the series. This year the two series were combined into the Tudor United Sports Car Challenge series and Corvette is still winning many of those races also, so it may be Ferrari that needs to look at what corvette is doing. Endurance racing is my cup of tea as NASCAR has gotten so far from it roots that it is not interesting any more to me. I do not know if you know what the word NASCAR stand for which is North American Stock Car Auto Racing and when they first started racing the term Win on Sunday and Sell on Monday was what it was all about. You could go into a dealership and buy practically the same car that were racing and they were all door slammers, but today they are no where near what is sold at a dealership and Toyota is most definitely not a North American Stock Car. For me it all ended in the late 80 when they started being made with tubular chassis’s and sheet metal bodies that barely resemble the actual car that they are supposed to be. Sorry for the rant but being an ex GM technician I take offense when people think an American car is not as well built or perform as good if not better than the exotic European cars.

    buldawg


    • I remember the earlier Nascar racing days, as well as LeMans and the GT40’s running circles around the competition which consisted mostly of cars 3-4X the price.The problem nowadays is that prices have become so artificially inflated that the desire to lower prices has little to no incentive. Who’s willing to do more work for less money? At one time I was, now I’m just used up and work is done at a pace that reflects this.




      • BB
        I was not griping at you as you are a book of knowledge on airguns , just as I am with vehicles so we all have our points of expertise and I just thought I would let you know that us Americans do still make some of the finest cars in the world and when compared price wise the Corvette is a bargain against the price of most any Ferrari.

        Buldawg



          • BB
            I did take it as a compliment and I thank you for it and yes I to am glad that Corvette is giving Ferrari and all the other high end exotics some of our good old home grown team work.

            I just did not want you to think I was upset with your examples, but rather just letting you know that the USA is still at the top of podium in many areas.

            Buldawg


        • Buldawg76
          Yes, I remember watching the three Ford G40’s placing 1-2-3 at LeMans. I don’t want to be a contrarian but The Ford Motor Co. spent millions on the GT40 for research and development. All because Enzo Ferrari wouldn’t sell his company to Ford. Ford wanted to buy Ferrari because they wanted to get into endurance racing, and Ferrari had a proven track record. I’m not a fan of any car that costs a million dollars, however it is hard to ignore the fact that Ferrari has no advertising budget, yet sells all their new cars every year.
          Ciao
          Titus


          • You are correct that the R&D cost Fomoco quite a chunk of change, most went to overhead cam technology I believe but once it was completed the cars still cost a lot less to produce than their competition. And now we get the Ford GT to play with so how much do they get on each one of those anyways?

            Reb



              • Desertdweeler
                I always wanted to put a small block in one of those opel and really make a 3/4 corvette, the Opel was way under powered but did run good and handled ok.

                When my disability come thru I am going to eventually get my 78 Datsun 620 bullet side pickup back on the road with a 400 4 bolt small block and Borg Warner super t-10 4 speed in it just to have some fun and turn heads when a little import pickup blows the doors off some of the new Detroit iron.

                Buldawg


          • Titus
            I believe they can do that because the majority of those cars are preorders that have already had a sizable down payment given to them to build for the wealthy elite that 1 million dollars is like a hundred dollars to you or me. Its like the Bugatti Veyron that sell for 1.5 million and is guaranteed to do 257 miles per hour or you get your money back.

            If I had my choice of any car ever produced in the world it would be the 1966 Shelby SC 500 Cobra that is so raw and unrefined yet beat Ferrari and all the other exotics at the 66 24 hours of Lemans and set a record back in 66 that was not broken until 2005 or 06 by a Lambo or Maserati and that was from 0 mph to 100 mph and back to 0 mph in 12 seconds.

            That is why I say I like the plain Jane no frills type of cars, bikes and guns because if it does not make it go faster, handle better, stop faster or shoot straighter then it is not needed.

            Buldawg


    • I wonder what would of happened to the Corvette if Mr. Duntov never came along.

      That man did things the way he wanted and he didn’t care if he took a risk and went a opposite way that GM wanted it to go.

      Thanks to him being different and not afraid of the corporate game we are still able to enjoy the Corvette today. And look at all those wonderful parts that he came up with to put the small block Chevy on top of the game.

      Ain’t it funny how a company changes their mind after a project succeeds and becomes their most profitable product.


      • Gunfun
        That is exactly how the GTO gained the title as the start of the muscle car craze in America.

        It was John Delorean and Fred Wagners that were 2 engineers at Pontiac that also did not care about GMs corporate policy at the time and were tired of being beat by the Corvette in the showroom stock 1/4 mile wars of the time and decided to offer the tempest/lemans mid sized cars that by GM policy could not have an engine larger than 350 CI. They offered an option at the dealer level to buy the GTO option which put the 389 or 421 into the tempest/lemans sized vehicles and by doing so were able to outrun the 64 fuelie corvette in the 1.4 mile street stock war with the 64 GTO with a 389 tri-power , 4 speed and posi rearend and delete all other necessities and turned a 12.70 1/4 mile time off the showroom floor. I owned one of those famed Goats as there where 6500 goat ordered in 64, but only 650 of them with the exact combo that I stated above.

        Since it was dealer level option every one was built to order so they all sold in 64, 65, 66 and then in 67 GM caught on and gave the Goat its own VIN and sold it as a model rather than an option.

        Another great accomplishment from some people that were not content with obeying the rules of the companies they worked for.

        Buldawg


        • buldawg
          Like I said before and I hate to say it again. But if there was some body in the air gun companies that knew something about a bunch of different aspects of air gunning and wasn’t afraid to push some buttons or stir the pot if you will that company would take over and the others would have to catch on or get out.

          Its pretty simple to see what happens when somebody starts winning and they start getting all the fun money. But gain here we are. And there they are.


          • Gunfuin
            We can only hope that somewhere there is such a person that will take the chance and make a new gun that take the air gun world by surprise and like you said leaves all the other companies scrambling to play catch up.

            I just hope I am still here to see it and experience it also.

            I am getting done with my email catch up and going to work on the scope mounting now so I will call you tomorrow and let you know if I get out of doc early enough to shoot out back before I go to buddies to sight at 50 yards.
            Later.

            Buldawg


            • buldawg
              Yep let no for sure how the sighting in goes.

              Maybe I will have something accomplished on that Hatsan 95. It’s suppose to be the gun that fills the duty of my backyard knock it around gun. Hopefully we both get some good results.


              • Gunfuin
                Yep I am anxious now myself since you told me the JSBs do the best and you sent me a tin of them. I am going to try and do like BB does and sight it in out back at 15 yards so it will be on the paper at fifty and easier to dial it in at fifty and then I can move target in to 40, 30, 20, and 10 to no where the hold over and under mil dots are at and do Loren that I followed in the Nats does. He has a piece of paper taped on the front of his scope flip up lens cover that shows how much to hold over or under at different ranges so he does not have to remember that info. I have an old eraser type board that is 18 inches by 2 feet and on a stand that I can set ant where or any distance that I use at my buddies to shoot at different distances and all it take is to move it to the range I want to sight at.

                buldawg .


              • Gunfun
                Speaking of knock around guns when I told you I wanted to change your gun to the 22 cal hipac that is what I was wanting to do is make it a knock around gun for our back but not changing your tune just adding my longer hipac to your gun for more air volume once I know that they are reliable. I am also going to get the pipe bungs welded on this weekend so they should be back together and be tested for a few weeks before I even decide if I want to switch to the longer hipac.

                Talk to you tomorrow.

                Buldawg


  3. B.B.,
    I just saw Jimmy’s response to The story behind Pellgunoil and took a minute to read it.
    I asked a question regarding the use of Pellgunoil in the Hipac 22xx’s voicing my concern that someone may be using Pellgunoil or 30 wt ND for sealing purposes but then charging with HPA, as is my intention once another month goes by.
    Sounds like I should also order and just stick with silicone, to be on the safe side,eh?
    I wonder what precautions must be followed with the Steriod guns from Mac1? Anybody got one?
    Reb


  4. OK, I guess I will have to get a TX200 someday soon. I have an HW-77 (original style stock) and honestly can’t really feel much in the way of vibration or “buzz” when it shoots. I suspect it’s one of those things that you don’t notice until you have a basis for comparison – and when you do you can’t help but notice it from then on. Sort of like when I tried an FWB 603 and compared it to my FWB 602. Not that my shooting is on a high enough level that I can take advantage of the reduced recoil of the 603 but I certainly could feel it.


  5. BB
    There is one thing that might not be true about the people that are in those company’s when you say they are just like us.

    I don’t work at Crosman or AirForce. I don’t work at Weirauch or FWB and so on.

    But guess what them people do work at those company’s. They are the people in those positions. If they can’t get something to happen then shame on them.

    Why does it have to be so hard to implement change. Especially if its to improve the company and the product. Maybe those company’s ain’t got a button pusher that’s willing to stir things up and take a chance and not be afraid of getting fired.

    I know there is more to the big picture than what I’m saying. But darn I would love to have a job sitting in the conference room and discussing and making changes to a product to satisfy the customer and help the company.

    So you see what I mean. We aren’t like those people. They are there and we are here. All we can do is make statements about hoping they will make something we want. And then we just set back and watch and wait. Sometimes we get happy. Sometime we just wait and wait and wait.


    • They are there more than likely because they are willing to do certain things that I for one am not. For one thing they must be willing to drink the Corporate Kool-Aid. Many of them have daggers concealed in their sleeves. A few may actually know what they are doing, but are too busy watching their backs. Yadayadayadayadayada.



    • GF1,

      Doing something different or new scares some people. It rocks them out of their comfort zone. As a result, they could become unemployed. Therefore, it’s easier to just go with the flow, not make suggestions or decisions that are out of the mainstream, and do just enough to keep a job. It’s called survival, and there are a lot of people on all levels in most companies that have that outlook.

      Companies SAY they want you to think outside the box. But the minute you do, someone comes along and beats you with his stick of “reality” and you’re forced to crawl back into the box.

      I believe people are born wanting to succeed. Rules, fears and pressure often bring that to a screeching halt.

      Edith


  6. Good points BB. Had not appreciated about Hancock and the HW77. I would dearly like to try a Bronco, knowing the Mendoza trigger from a larger rifle, but sadly Pyramid Air cannot now ship to the UK.


    • Oliver,

      I am not saying that Ivan copied the 77, but he certainly used it for inspiration. And his Mach II trigger is very close to a Rekord — though it is an improvement.

      I’m sure Ivan wouldn’t like me to say that he copied the 77 or anything else, because he was always ahead of the pack, but he did bring out his Mach II rifle at a time when the HW77 domonated the world of spring guns.

      B.B.


  7. Buldawg has just about won me over. I really do not think the FWB Sport is going to do well in the USofA. The 10 million are not going to buy this. The market for this is the few thousand who expect exceptional quality and are willing to pay for it if it is there. Unfortunately for Feinwerkbau, many of us read this blog and other reviews and know that a big chunk of the price of this air rifle is the name imprinted on the stock. This thing may be the proverbial tack driver, but for the same price I can buy an Air Arms TX200 MKIII with a gorgeous walnut stock AND a decent scope.

    Why should I drop a grand on a brand new air rifle knowing that as soon as I take it out of the box, I am going to have to take it apart and tune it? Yes, one day our sons will be hanging out with the other grizzled old airgunners at the shows hoping to stumble onto one of these things, but there will not be many because like the FWB124, it was mostly the name.



    • That was my point when I said they chose their market demographic. I’ve worked for some who are out for nothing but the best.If it’s not everything they expect, some of these people think about writing their congressmen well before giving polite ,constructive criticism to one’s face.These are the people responsible for those How was our service questionnaires. I think PA will be lucky to move 1000 units, but if they do the ball will be rolling and any questions regarding quality and user friendliness will be readily answered.

      Reb


    • I was with you until “… like the FWB124…”.

      A lot of folks today don’t get what the big deal was with Hendrix. After decades of guitarists standing on his shoulders, he no longer sounds like ‘all that’. Well, he was the First. Same with the 124. Piles of power (for the time) coupled with amazing accuracy (still). For the time, the 124 was AMAZING.

      And today, it still holds up extremely well.

      The NewTwoFour breaks no new ground, and charges royally for ‘same old’. And that’s the core problem with it. Fine airgun; nothing (nothing) new, and waaaaaaay too expensive.




          • Reb
            You got that right and no guitar player has ever matched his prowess on a guitar to tjis day, some have been close but still not at his level.

            Did you get my email and pics from the nationals

            Buldawg


            • my computer’s actin’ funky, I’m trying to keep an eye on an Item I have for sale locally through a fb site and it keeps freezing and won’t even pull up my e-mail so I can keep an eye out that way. This week is going down the tubes fast! I sold my scooter for a 2240 project in which the $ evaporated and gotta scrounge up to finish buying meds now?!
              So it’s Sell,sell,sell now!
              Anybody need a heavy duty 2 stage compressor?
              I’ll try again later.
              Reb



              • Reb
                I will try to resend it, the actual email is plain text but I have to send pics in batches of 4 or 5 so it may take a while to load the pics or I can wait till you PC gets back working right . You tell me what you want me to do.

                Buldawg


    • RR
      I am not trying to win you or anyone over or persuade them from owning or not owning a new sporter, its just that I have worked on mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and most every type of vehicle type, system or design for 45 years and although I have never gotten a college degree or can do all the math and design computations required to build something from a blank slate. I have been repairing and correcting the design flaws or shortcomings of these vehicles for that 45 years and over that time I have been sent tech bulletins and recall notices for something that was not built or designed properly from the beginning and have had to fix the engineers mistakes.

      While at Harley I was given the opportunity and encouraged to provide insight and input into what I felt were flaws and missed opportunities to improve their product by all levels of management and I can say that several designs and fixes that were implemented by the engineers at Harley were a direct result of my input and reporting of the issues and repair suggestions that I had documented during my 11 years at the company. Harley was, as I cannot speak for them now but do believe that they operate the same now, a company that believes its employees make or break the company and we would have many roundtable discussions with the upper level management and engineering staff on what us ( being the mechanics that got first hand experience with failures and repair of those failures ) thought and recommended should be done to improve or correct the product that we all had a stake in producing. So there are companies still out there that value their workers and realize that the more peoples input there is the better the product can be.

      My only issue with the new sporter is not that it buzzes but that it does so brand new out of the box and to me represent a true lack of design, production or quality control measures that should have been taken to prevent this type of issue from occurring on a brand new product. If I had the money to spend for one other than the to me overly fancied up stock I would love to own one and would fix the buzz before it was ever close to being broken in but that is just me being anal on the little details that make for an overall better product.

      Buldawg


      • No, no, no ,no. I did indeed understand what you were saying and I appreciate your saying it. It gave me something more to think about.

        Like every boy, I always want a new shiny toy to play with. Unfortunately, my name is not Warren Buffet. I know this air rifle is top shelf, but for the extra this one is going to cost, you would think Feinwerkbau could afford a little grease.


        • RR
          Yea a little grease is all it would take to fix the noise and If they all are like this one gun them their fine name will be severely tarnished and it is the old saying , a satisfied customer tell a few people but a dissatisfied customer tells everyone.

          Buldawg


  8. I have 2 Broncos. I purchased one from Pyramyd Air and won the other as a door prize at the Ft. Worth Air Gun Show. I have already given one to my 9 year old grandson. He can cock and shoot it with ease. It is very accurate and feels and shoots like an air rifle costing much more.

    The second Bronco is my son’s and will be passed on to my 2nd grandson who is only one. A few days ago, I got together with my son and we shot in his back yard. We shot the Bronco with a Tech Force TF90 red dot sight mounted on it. The TF90 has such a large view that the open sights can still be used by looking through the red dot sight. Turn the sight on and use the red dot or turn it off and still use the open sights. This air rifle is a blast to shoot and will not tire you out after a long session of shooting.

    I own some very nice air guns and enjoy them all. The Bronco and TF90 combination are apparently going to be scarce in the future. I highly recommend them.




      • BB
        why would a TX have barrel droop as it is a fixed barrel with an under lever, so the barrel should be straight and fixed right? Do they not get put in aligned correctly from the factory or is this another case of mass production without good quality control inspections.

        Buldawg



          • Gunfun
            I thought it was due to machining and production tolerances but I just wanted to be clear that it is why barrel droop occurs. Just like no two same cars run exactly the same I would just hope the barrel droop is less of an issue with a fixed barrel as it would be with a break barrel.

            Buldawg


        • Buldawg,

          A Winchester model 70 can have barrel droop. In fact, many of that have it!

          Droop has noting to do with the breakbarrel design. It has to do with the axis of the bore not being in line with the scope base. Period.

          No barrel rifled today has the bore parallel with the outside of the barrel. They have to turn the barrel in a lathe to square that up. Sometimes it’s only a few thousandths but other times the axis can be off so much you can see it.

          And then when the barrel is pressed, pinned or screwed into the receiver, who says it is done so straight? Another alignment problem.

          B.B.


          • BB
            I thought that it was due to machining and production tolerances and just wanted confirmation of that fact.

            The same as no two cars are exactly the same.

            I would hope it is less of an issue with a fixed barrel than a break barrel.

            Buldawg


          • BB
            Thank you for the great explanation as I had not really thought about it that way, I was thinking along the line that the barrel actually drooped or was physically bent downward and not even considered that it is very difficult to put a perfectly centered hole in a piece of metal.

            Sometimes I forget everything I have learned and experienced in life in terms of manufacturing tolerances and stack up, equipment quality and accuracy and all the other little thing that must be done to obtain as good a product as possible.

            Buldawg


  9. BB,
    I recommend that everyone who had the opportunity to go to some event such as an airgun show or other event if it is advertised that Crosman will be there. Their engineers are very open and informative. If you show real interest and will listen to what they say you will hear a lot about how and why they build their rifles the way they do and with the features they have. It was very eye opening to me.

    David Enoch


  10. Thank you so much for such blog entries, BB..it allows us to take a look behind the curtains of how airguns are made.

    A little not on the Tx200’s central air transfer port: Why do all other manufacturers use offset ports? Reason is that this allows you to add iron sights which sit close to the barrel bore, and this is very desirable if you want to get rid of a mouse in your attic. The improved power and shooting behaviour came at the price of being a scope-only rifle.


  11. Very interesting read. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line. Even an airgun company owned, run, and worked by airgun enthusiasts would need to stay in the black each year to continue providing quality products and maybe innovating a little–if they can afford that risky and expensive activity. I think “we” blog readers are a different “they” than the average “they”–from what I’ve seen, my blog colleagues know more about airguns, demand more from their airguns, and are willing to pay more for their airguns to get it–a commercial minority that not every airgun company will target. A better “they”? Nope–because that big box store airgun “they” includes people who know more about computers, cars, and televisions than I do, demand more from those products, and will pay more to get it from those products. It depends on what grabs your interest.

    I’ve become interested in airguns, and I’m pitching my tent right here.


    • HiveSeeker,

      Yes, we are a different “they” than the rest of them. We are the people who appreciate the finer things of airgun design. Every interest has its collections of people like us.

      What makes me very happy is how fast “we” are growing! Firearm shooters are coming to airguns in record numbers — driven mostly by the ammo shortage, but also by curiosity. It is my job to keep stimulating their curiosity. And I love it!

      B.B.


  12. My powder burning shooting buddies thought I’d lost it when I purchased a Beeman C-1 in the early 80’s for (I think it was $119). But after shooting it (which is the secret) they said this is not a red ryder for sure. I have sold 5 people on buying Broncos. In my eyes it’s the very best price for quality starter air gun out there.

    B.B. I do have one Bronco question. What is the reason the grip area on the Bronco is so FAT? Could they trim it down like the C-1 or would it break easily?

    Speakski


    • Speakski,

      I don’t know why the wrist is so fat. It could really stand to lose some wood, couldn’t it?

      When we specified maple as the wood I thought that allowed for a more slender stock because the grain is so straight and the wood so strong. But Mendoza made it the way they did for who knows what reason.

      B.B.


      • With no more Broncos, our hobby will be worse off. I don’t know what else can take their place.

        I like the beech stock on the Bronco, but maple would have been nicer. They must have been trying to meet a price point.

        Les


  13. B.B.,
    First, Thank You!

    I have a dumb question. In your article, your said “Hancock built each of his rifles by hand, and they show it.” How can one tell by looking if an airgun is hand built vs. mass produced?


    • Joe,

      Mostly you can tell by how close the tolerances are held. Hancock was a tuner before he built whole guns, and his rifles develop great power but are as smooth as silk. The buttoned piston was his invention.

      I guess the answer to your question is you need to have a lot of experience with factory-built airguns, so that when you shoot one that has been tuned well, the differences will jump out at you.

      But Hancock also polished his rifles to a mirror finish and had them engraved in places. The sliding compression chambers were engine-turned. Little touches that factories cannot afford to do.

      So his rifle sells for $2,000 when something equivalent made by a factory is selling for $300.

      B.B.


  14. “The sliding compression chambers were engine-turned. Little touches that factories cannot afford to do.”

    ???

    Every $120 weed whacker at Lowe’s has a precisely fitted piston in its little bore. Yes, it is very possible, today, to churn out inexpensive precision. There is no real reason, other than laxity, for high-end airguns to have pistons rattling about in their compression tubes. AG manufacturers don’t have enough competition, or pride, to take the steps that are FULLY CAPABLE of taking.


    • Steve,

      How many weed whackers does Lowe’s sell? It’s a lot more than what any airgun company will sell. The cost of anything they do is amortized over years of selling hundreds of thousands of a product line. Airguns do not sell in the same volume as weed whackers.

      Edith


      • Edith,

        The POINT is that these ops cannot cost so much, or weed whackers wouldn’t cost so little. You don’t get to lose money on each unit, and make it up on volume, right???

        If FWB (or whoever) can’t figure out how to precisely fit a piston to a bore, they can send their comp tubes and pistons to YardMan for this exacting ‘high-end’ work. I look forward to the YardMan line of precision airguns.

        Why the relentless insistence on apologizing for these guys?


        • Steve,

          I’m not apologizing or making excuses for anyone or anything. I’m talking about volume. When you create a line of products that use similar features, then you amortize the cost of it by selling things in huge volume. Then, you’ll make your money back. That’s how business works.

          Edith


          • To assume I do not understand simple economies of scale is just a titch condescending, don’t you agree?

            If it is economical to fit a precision piston into a precision bore for a $120 weed whacker, then, YES, is is economcal to do the same for a $600-900 airgun. As per my earlier, a manufacturer may sub the op out if they don’t want to buy the (relatively inexpensive) equipment.

            By your logic, mass-produced barrel cockers on the ubiquitous Crosman/GAMO platform would be more likely to have precise fitting than AA/FWB. Does that make sense? Of course not.


            • Steve,

              Since your first reply to my comment didn’t seem indicate that you may have fully comprehended what I was saying, I felt I needed to restate things. I don’t think repeating/restating a previous statement in order to clarify an idea is condescending. I was just trying to say it in a different way.

              Edith


            • SteveInMN,
              If you get a chance to examine the FWB P700, the 2 knobs in the back of the stock for cheek piece and butt adjustments look and feel cheaper than stuff made in China. The laminated wood on the stock is so soft you can easily dent it with your finger nail, BUT it is a FWB, and you should feel bless and honor to even hold it in your hand.


        • A weed whacker’s piston runs smoothly up and down, while an airgun’s piston slams forward, driven by a very strong spring that experiences compression and sudden relaxation beyond anything you’ll find in a piston engine. From an engineer’s point of view, Springers are pretty extreme devices.

          By the way, the Gas spring’s gain in popularity comes from the fact that they gives you less vibration, without the need for fine craftmanship or after-production tuning. We’ll see if a gas spring gun can last for decades like a springer does – I doubt they do.


          • ME
            If you think any internal combustion engine runs smoothly then you have never seen broken crankshafts or bent rods and shattered pistons. A single cylinder weed wacker is anything but smooth and at 10 to 12000 rpm the rod is being compressed and stretched 50 to 100 thousands of an inch every time it goes from a dead stop at top dead center and bottom dead center of the stroke. The piston is traveling at approximately 7 to 8000 feet per second every time it moves from the top to bottom of the cylinder and the crankshaft is twisting violently back and forth every time the plug fires and forces the piston back down in the cylinder.

            In a nascar engine the pistons at 7000 rpm are moving at 5500 to 6000 feet per second and the that is why they rebuild the engine and inspect every part after every race.

            The normal accepted piston speed for a street driven engine to live for 100, 000 plus miles is about 4000 feet per second at the highest limits of the newer four cylinder performance engines

            A Harley V twins piston at 6000 rpm is moving at 4500 feet per second. it is all dependent on the stroke of the engine in question and the operating rpm, but I can say fairly certain that a spring guns piston does not get any where near that speed and it only has to do this maybe 50,000 times in its life if it is shoot regularly every day for years. Where as a piston in a car has to do this several million times in its lifespan. So there is no comparison between a spring gun piston and any internal combustion piston engine in terms of violent forces being applied to the moving parts.

            I have seen a stroboscopic video of the inside of a small block chevy engine running at 3000 rpm and I can tell you that the crankshaft, rods and pistons as well as the camshaft were all being violently forced in the opposite directions of rotation during one complete revolution of the engine. The crankshaft would be forced in the opposite direction every time a cylinder fired and that same rod would look like a s shaped piece of steel at the same time as the piston was being distorted by the pressure on top of it with 1500 to 2000 degree temperatures above its dome and the camshaft was deflecting in the opposite direction from the valve spring pressures acting on the lobe of the camshaft. So an internal combustion engine is anything but smooth when running and that is why there is a harmonic balancer on the front of the crankshaft and a balanced flywheel at the back to help control the violent forces acting on all the reciprocating parts in the engine and allow them to live for 100,000 plus miles.

            The early 80s model GM diesel engine that they came out with that was nothing more than an Oldsmobile 350 V8 gas engine converted to a diesel with a little extra reinforcement in the block and an increase in compression from 9 to 1 ratio to 22 to 1 ratio broke crankshafts like they were made of plastic because the crankshaft was not reinforced to handle the extremely higher load placed on it by the more than doubled compression ratio of the diesel conversion, I know because I cannot count how many I replaced back then when they first came out.

            I also have questions and doubts about the claims that if you leave a spring gun cocked for extended periods it will degrade and weaken the spring because in a V8 engine the engine when shut off will stop in one of four of the same positions in it 360 degrees of rotation and there will be at least three or four valves held off their seat by the camshaft effectively keeping the spring compressed for very long amount of time as in weeks or months in some cases and those spring are not degraded or weakened because they were compressed for extended periods of time. So the only thing I can attribute to the degrading and weakening of a spring guns spring from being compressed for an extended amount of time is that the springs are of very low quality and lower standard’s of spring metal for it to be damaged from being left cocked for any length of time.

            Buldawg


            • buldawg
              Now your talking. Oldsmobile was my favorite muscle car. I had probably 6 different 442’s throughout time.

              And Mr.Oldsmobile himself Joe Mondello did a lot of aftermarket stuff for hot rodding them.

              One of my favorite kits he had was for the 350 Olds diesel block. It was a much stronger block. Olds increased the main web thickness and improved the oil passages and cooling passages in that block. It was one of the better blocks to get. Any of the small block Olds heads would bolt on to that block. Mondello made a stroker kit that you could turn that 350 block into 400 plus cubic inches. If I remember right it used a 3.750” stroke and you could get it up to like 12.5 to 1 compression. It was nice little sleeper engine. I know I had one in one of the small body 78 Cutlass’. That engine was a torque monster and a high revver also. The pistons I had in it were short skirt pistons and only had one compression ring and one oil ring. I think they were Ross pistons if I remember right. And the had the small gas port holes drilled around the top of the piston into the ring land area to keep the rings pushed out to the cylinder walls to keep the rings sealed at the higher rpm’s. It was running in the low eleven’s at around 119 mph and going through the lights at 6800 rpm which was almost unheard of in Oldsmobile engines. But it took me 2 different sets of valve springs to find the right ones to keep it revving.

              And me and you was talking about that spring compression thing the other day. There is something I thought about after we talked about that.

              Do you know how a weak valve spring affects a engines performance? You will never know if you have a weak spring in normal driving conditions. How you know is if you start getting valve float. (the valve not making it closed in time at higher rpm’s) What happens is the engine will rpm up and then reach a rpm and won’t climb any more. (kind of like having the timing set to high) A person that races will know right away if the valve spring starts weakening because the rpm wont climb as high and the car will slow up. In stead of the car keeping its nose up before it hits the next gear you will see it start to nose over. That’s why you got shift lights and tach’s now. In the old days you shifted by the seat of the pants feel and the sound the engine was making. If you didn’t feel the car pulling and the nose was coming down you were already to late shifting. So if that started happening at a lower and lower rpm (and it would only be like 3 or 400 rpm less) well you knew it was time to replace valve springs.

              So as far as spring guns go I’m thinking its probably the quality of the material they use in the spring guns and then throw in the process of heat treating the springs from one manufacturer to the other. That would definitely play a part in the deterioration of the spring. Probably the only way you would know is if you measured the cocking weight on a scale like BB does and check through out time if it gets easier to cock and then of chrony the gun from time to time.

              Just like anything its going to deteriorate you just don’t know when.


              • Oh yea. When I was a kid and worked at that machine shop I built a 455 in a 442 I had and it was a stick shift car. Have you ever heard of the clutch pedal sucking to the floor when you get on a high horse power car with slicks that are getting good traction.

                Well that happened with that engine. Two things happened first the car over revved real fast and the engine was missing after that. The second thing is the clutch flywheel and pressure plate got tossed. In went a 3500 pound Borg and Beck pressure plate withe coil springs on the three fingers instead of the diaphragm pressure plate.

                The second thing was the engine had to come out. The number 8 cylinder was the one that kept mis-firing. First thing I did was pull the crank out and and looked at the wear line on the bearings on the rod side. You can see a line that gets made by when the spark plug fires and forces the piston down. All the wear lines was probably .125” before top dead center. The number 8 rod wear line was at about .125” after top dead center. So how much did that crankshaft get twisted rotation wise on the number 8 cylinder. Does that ad up to a 1/4” Maybe even more because you are talking degrees of rotation.

                All I can say is your right. They say the crankshaft flexes back and forth the whole time its running. And that flexing is worse at different rpm’s. Have you ever had the harmonic balancer slip the outer ring on a engine. That’s not a good thing either.

                And I was trying to hold off and not make a comment about the car stuff but it just happened. 🙂


                • Gunfun
                  You are right about the olds diesel block being a excellent candidate for hot rodding as it was way stronger than a gas block was and there was a machine shop in my area back then that was taking those blocks and putting in stroke cranks, clearancing the block for the rods and putting on 455 heads and I think he built some that were real close to 500 CI and they were torque monsters for sure.

                  Yea I know about a weak valve spring and how to tell when it has weakened by the engine loosing rpm and the car nosing over before you reach peak rpm. I had to find the right springs and lash pads on the four banger Datsun engines I built to turn 8000 rpm and not float the valves.

                  Yea you can tell a lot on how the engine is firing from the wear contact surface of the rod bearings and it is all those little thing that make the fast cars stay fast and the other guy wondering how your car that is just about the same as his walks away from him every time.

                  The video that I got to watch when I was a GM technician really opened my eye and mind up to just what was happening inside of an engine when it was running and there is nothing smooth about it. Every part in the reciprocating assembly is being violently forced back and forth and stretched and compressed to its limit every revolution the engine makes, back in the 60 and 70s the stress and failure ratio of parts made were at a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio to be able to survive for the 75 to 100,000 miles most engines lasted before needing a rebuilt. Today with technology, metallurgy and machining improvements that ratio has been taken all the way down to 1 to 1 in most cases and has been designed to last just past the warranty time frame.

                  Yes I have had a harmonic balancer slip and had one come off completely on a small block chevy and you know it right away as the engine becomes a paint mixer immediately. I actually just had to replace the one on the Wife’s maxima before we went to Memphis because it had slipped and was wobbling to the point that the serpentine belt was hitting the timing cover and making a squeaking noise, I am glad that It happened then instead of while we were on the trip as I would have not had the tools to repair it on the side of road and it most likely wood have done way more damage when it came off than just replacing the damper.

                  Buldawg



                    • Gunfun
                      I still think we should have grown up together because we think way to much alike to have never known each other until a few months ago.

                      Buldawg


                  • buldawg no telling what kind of things we would of built.

                    My buddy that’s the pure Pontiac guy is like that also. He will never take no for a answer if he wants something done his way on his cars.

                    Me and him have our difference in thoughts some times but in the end we get it done way or another.

                    And we have already accomplished some things and haven’t even met yet. And off to the next project we go. 🙂


              • I always wanted a shift kit and floor shift in my El Camino, only got as far as mounting some old Chevelle buckets after welding in stainless muffler sheeting in to replace the Swiss cheese floor-boards. It would start dropping just before 2nd unless I manually shifted the column shift.
                One morning a Neon cut me off on the way to work- accidentally skipped 2nd and hit 1st @70 mph- pulled 2 rocker studs that I had to knurl & freeze to get back home that day. I know Buldawg cringed on that one just like I did!


                • Reb
                  I seen a lot of drag engines get destroyed because they didn’t shim the valve spring to the correct pressure or had the wrong spring for the rpm and camshaft lift. And alot destroyed because they didn’t leave enough clearance for coil bind at the higher rpm’s.

                  When I was working at the speed shop when I was a kid I got to tear the engines apart that came in. You wouldn’t believe how many engines came in with the head of the valves stretched off. And the retainer clips and groove ripped off of the valve stems. Alot of dollars wasted just because they overlooked a simple thing when they built the engine.

                  You wouldn’t believe how many I took apart and clayed between the piston and valve at top dead center and found like only .005” between the valve and the top of the piston. What do you think happens to the valve and the piston and rod at 8 or 9000 rpm. Believe it or not metal stretches. That’s how the Chevy X rods and Pink rods came about. They were about the best small block Chevy stuff you could get from the factory. Then came the later model 93 and up LT1 engines with the powder forged cracked rods. And the rod bolts and instead of studs. All that stuff stretching has to go some where and if there ain’t no where for it to go that’s bad.

                  I wonder if there is one smart person in the air gun company’s that know his you know what and has enough you know what to make something happen like the people that knew they needed those changes in the engine from the factory so theywouldn’t have be doing warranty work on those engines. Maybe a little more time spent on design is cheaper than having to come back and fix or recall things that should not break or be wrong.


                  • Mine was running a .454 lift 268 duration comp cam performer intake 875 cfm Quad through cast iron manifolds & 2.5-2 chamber Flowmasters + H pipe with dumps X-rod 4 bolt & 350 turbo-308 rear gears. Needless to say,it was only about 3/4 of the way there and I’m afraid it’ll be my last v-8 but who knows, gas may go back down 😉 ?

                    Reb


                    • Reb
                      Nice combination actually eve n with those gears.

                      What heads and compression did you have.

                      You ever hear of 347x heads. They were the equivalent of the 461 heads but with a smaller 58 cc chamber instead of the 64 cc chambers the 461’s had. What centerline was your can ground on. A 112 or 116 degree would of made that car pull hard from the bottom of the gear all the way to the top. It would of been perfect with a 8.5 or 10 to 1 engine.

                      Man you guys got me talking about cars again.


                • Reb
                  You are lucky that you got those stud to stay in the head after they pulled out, I have had that happen on one of the first small block motors I put a big cam in and could not understand why the valve adjustment would not last more than a day or two. The owner of the first garage I worked at was the type of teacher that would allow you to make mistakes knowing that when you found the problem or were told what to check to find the problem that you would not forget it as fast as if you were just shown right from the start how to do it correctly and his method worked real good.

                  When I found that the studs were pulling out of the heads because of the lift on the cam and realized that they were just pressed in I pulled all the rocker off and tapped the studs back down into the heads and drilled and pinned them in place for the poor mans screw in stud fix.

                  I have had valve keepers come off also and drop a valve into the piston which is not a pretty picture either.

                  A lot of good and bad memories of our younger days and learning experiences is what make us who we are today.

                  Have you decided if you want me to send you the pics and email from the nationals or do I need to wait till you get your PC working better.

                  buldawg


                  • Machine work and screw in studs from a big block Chevy does wonders for a Oldsmobile.

                    Big block Chevy and Oldsmobile used the same rocker arm geometry. Well pretty close to each other anyway.

                    Mr. Mondello used the stock bridges on the rocker arms with stronger bolts and adjustable pushrods with his solid lifter cams. (you have to adjust valve lash on solid lifter cams; well and hydraulic lifters also). I machined the boss’s of the Olds heads and put big block Chevy screw in studs and roller rockers in the heads. I used the stock one piece pushrods which were stronger than the Mondello multi-piece pushrods. RPM and no breaking is the result.

                    That is a big performance gain if you could adjust the rocker arms like on big and small block Chevy’s. You can adjust the rocker arm to valve stem clearance for heat and rpm. The 350 cu.inch/350 horse cam got nick named the 30 30 cam. It was set at .030” Clarence between the valve stem and the rocker arm on the intake and exhaust valves. It was a hot little cam that made way over the 350 horse power they had it listed at.

                    I had a bored and stroked 455 Olds engine that was 540 cubic inches that revved very easily to 7500 rpm back in 1982. (very high for a big block Olds, they were lucky to go to 5500 rpm in stock form) It made a lot of horse power and torque and I drove that thing forever back and forth to work every day.

                    How much was gas back then?


        • SteveIMN,
          You said “Why the relentless insistence on apologizing for these guys?”
          We must upheld FWB’s fine name even when they are making inferior products after the last FWB P70 came off the production line. If it is not you, who?



    • The weedwhacker likely has a piston over 1″ in diameter, maybe approaching 2″, and using at least one compression ring, and maybe a few oil rings. Oh, and a shorter stroke.

      Minor variations in a large diameter circle will be less noticeable than the same absolute variation in a small diameter circle.

      Carry this to an extreme… Who would notice a 1/32″ variance in a circle of, say, a foot diameter… Who would miss a 1/32″ variation in a 3/4″ diameter circle?

      Another factor — those rings I mentioned? The weedwhacker has lower pressure and a continuous supply of oil for sealing any leaks. An 8:1 compression ratio may be typical. Or, to put it in more comprehendable terms — that weedwhacker is operating at a (pre-ignition) pressure of around 150PSI (or that of a high end utility shop compressor), and no where near the >1000PSI of a spring gun.

      That ignores the economies of volume… those weedwhackers sell more than air-guns; the cost of the machining equipment is distributed over more units.


  15. Reading most of these posts I think many are looking at this with one eye closed. Open the other eye and see the rest of the world. Many of the spring guns we see here are modified from guns that were designed to shoot sub 12 ftlbs. Right off the bat this is going to mean more noise, vibration, hold sensitivity, trigger problems, longer cocking and firing stroke, recoil and probably reliability issues. This is not just an airgun thing it happens every time we try and make something do more than it was intended to do. The hot rodded car or motorcycle has the same issues.
    Put a milder spring and longer rod on the piston in this FWB and it would probably shoot like a tuned gun and be legal for field target in the rest of the world. I have a TX200 that came with both the FAC and 12 ftlb piston and spring. The difference in power is only about 3 ft lbs but the firing behavior difference is dramatic when you are really concentrating on max precision and this is a gun that weights a good bit more than the FWB.
    I am not defending the FWB, just pointing out that it may have been designed for a different power level were it does shoot like a $900 gun but with mods for the US market has lost some of that polish.


  16. Tom,

    Excellent report. As i read it, again and again I found myself nodding my head up and down in agreement.

    If someone asks what makes a TX200 worth $600, the shortest answer is that thousands of serious airgunners can’t all be wrong. If it were not worth that much, at some point long ago word would have gotten around, and either the price would have dropped a LOT or, more likely, it would have disappeared from the market. The proof is in its continued commercial success.

    As for Feinwerkbau’s new air rifle, people who are not patient to see what it can do are showing their ignorance of airgun history. FWB has earned the highest degree of respect because of the quality and stunning accuracy of their Competition guns over a long time. World class shooters can shoot whatever they want, because they get their guns for free. For decades so many of them have chosen FWB because they are one of the two or three very best, period.

    Perhaps the FWB Sport is, for FWB, slightly rough around the edges because the company has been out of the non-competition part of the airgun market for a while and has to relearn it. Who knows? But even on an off-day Walter Payton was still always the best football player and best all-around athlete on the field, even if at that moment it didn’t show.

    Michael


    • Michael,

      FWB is loosing respect after the last P70 air rifle came off their production line. Did you ever compare the P70 with the newer 10-m air rifle such as the P700? and no it is not more accurate than the P70, just a few more bells and whistles.

      FWB even convert their P70 for Field Target, but as you can see, not many competitors use that rifle. Do you know why?


  17. Tom,
    Lets’ make hundreds of thousands of dollars together bringing a new airgun to market. We can avoid the “corporate culture”.

    I have a friend that is a multi millionaire because he brings quality, complex products to the US market via a long standing relationship with an overseas manufacturer. Can they build an airgun that will be successful in the US market are the reasons for my questions below.

    Since its’ inception in 2009 the Bronco has filled a niche market and been a success? Shame that a price increase has spelled the demise of the Bronco. Let’s use the Bronco as the model for our new airgun introduction.

    1-When the last batch of Bronco’s have sold out will this leave a significant vacuum in the market for a replacement or will the other poor copies of the Bronco that cost less be sufficient to satisfy this market?

    2-Is using the Bronco the right model for our new airgun?

    3-Where does an Air Venturi fit in this introduction? They advance the money? They commit to import numbers to get manufacturing off the ground? Thought PA played the role as importer?

    4-Should we have the components designed to tight specs and assemble them in the US so we can market this as MADE IN THE USA or at least ASSEMBLED IN THE USA?

    Ps-you didn’t like my dimpled bb, aka golf ball cover design, so you’ll probably hate this idea LOL!

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      Since I have lost my contacts at certain airgun companies that used to listen to me, I will play along. This is an exercise I enjoy.

      The model we should copy is not the Bronco, but the FWB 27. It needs to be light and easy to cock. The ball-bearing trigger is too complex to duplicate, so let’s find a good trigger like the Bronco’s that we can copy.

      Air Venturi would not advance any money, but when we had a product, they would like to become the exclusive U.S. distributor for it.

      The gun can be made anywhere — as long as it is made well. That said, it costs a mint to oversee production in another country, and cultural impacts may never be fully appreciated. Our little rifle will never be a big deal for any factory, so we will always be the red-headed stepchild. Therefore, whatever we make has to be bulletproof — something even the government would find difficult to screw up.

      We don’t have to wait for the Bronco to go. There is a vacuum right now.

      When I was younger and full of time and energy I would have taken on a project like this at the drop of a hat!

      B.B.



      • Tom,

        I’m serious.

        Understand your time limitations. All I can offer is the potential for significant compensation for your time. You’ve been in this industry for a long time and graduated the school of hard knocks. Is it time to be rewarded for your airgun degree and airgun experience?

        Understand not getting any younger. Fully understand. This wouldn’t be possible if we were younger since we didn’t have the knowledge or contacts.

        Using the FWB 127 as a model is brilliant.

        Overseeing overseas production is a critical piece that Doug already has in place.

        I’m not so naive to believe there aren’t many pieces to put in place for this to happen and be successful but would like to pursue this model that will fill a market vacuum.

        kevin



      • I’ve never shot a Diana, FWB or even a Bronco,but when you said small light and easy to cock you got my attention, If it turns out anything like my old Slavia but with justa bit more oomph you’ll probably get my money too. I remember the buttons on the piston skirt(Thanks Mr. Hancock!) and wondering what they were for.


  18. Kevin, that sounds like a winner to me!
    B.B., can we expect a review of the new “27” in the next couple weeks ;o)
    Really though, would love for someone to do it. With the Bronco, I suspect the Stoeger X-5 (x-3?), Gamo Little Cat & IZH 61 (for now-until gone?) will fill the void. I’m sure others will come.
    As for the TX200’s quality, wouldn’t the Walther LGV come very close?
    Thanks again for the great read/blog.


  19. Something about the earlier reference to “precision” engineering in low cost weed whackers, left me feeling a bit uneasy. In fact,, the tolerances on the low end engines are quite large,, proven by the horrendous vibration one experiences in use. Coupled to the fact that they are seldom seen to work at all after the second full season,, and that no one is willing to repair them because the bill would be higher than the cost to buy a new one. In short,, using them as an example of the type of engineering that should be used in air rifles seems.. well,, off the intended mark.


    • Edlee, I agree. I’ve had several $50-$60 dollar weed eaters. They all vibrated really bad. I then finally bought a Stihl weed wacker that cost over double the weed eater brand. But I got a really smooth running machine that has a “precision” feel to it. I don’t want to jinx it, but I haven’t had to do anything to it. That said, you can have a non “precision” air gun that shoot good. I’ve have/had several “cheap” air guns that shoot surprising well. That said, they aren’t built to last or “hand down” like the others.


      • Another example is I’ve had several Marlin Model 60 semi auto 22 rifles that would shoot circles around higher priced guns. But the build quality wasn’t near the guns it would out shoot. A Ruger 10/22 is built rugged, but in “factory” form, it doesn’t shoot that well. I’m not talking about just plinking as just about all 22’s are good at that.


        • I have a Glenfield 75 .22 LR that was given to me as a basket case. This rifle is the bottom feeder version of the Marlin M1. With the purchase of a magazine tube and sights, I was able to rebuild it into a shooter. It sure shoots a lot better than it looks! That said, my favorite .22 autoloader is the old Remington Nylon 66. It’s the AK-47 of .22’s only with better accuracy. A friend has one he got as a farm boy in the 1960’s, It has seen a lot of use and hundreds of rounds over the years. Other than a cleaning rod pasted throught the barrel every few years, it has never been cleaned! It will still fire the whole magazine without a jam.

          Mike


        • Tell me about it…

          I have Marlin Glenfield 60c (circa 1969)… If I could still see open sights it would be a great gun… But mounting a scope shows the poor build quality.

          Barrel droop would be a blessing compared to this thing… the barrel is angled to the left relative to the receiver. I had to shim (Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin pads) the scope to angle in enough to intersect the barrel point of aim… At one distance only… At shorter distances the bullet will hit to the right of the PoA, and hit to the left and longer distances.

          And the stock was milled to match! The forestock is thin on the left and thick on the right — at the end… but equalized at the base where the barrel joins the receiver.


    • It isn’t as “off” as you may think. It strikes me as “off” that so many of you cannot understand Steve’s point of view. Years ago I was part of the team that helped design the engine for a well known brand of mower-not so different a beast than your average Yellow Mart weed whacker. Contrary to what you may believe tolerances ARE designed as tightly as possible, balancing friction loss against longevity, all to a price point. Vibrations in a single piston engine are naturally inherent unless balanced out, an expenditure generally not considered viable when looking at cost vs usability. Yes, it does boil down to that bottom line. But here’s the actual point.
      You want to make a engine. (Or airgun) You’ve decided what type, determined a life cycle and identified your market, and set a price point. (obviously that’s a simplification) You must tool up to build in house and order your equipment built to your specifications. The cost is the SAME whether your specs allow for a significant percentage of tolerance or the machine is capable of industry-standard accuracy.

      I understand where Edith’s coming from. Economies of scale. But capital costs are capital costs are capital costs, and fitting a piston to a bore is certainly not rocket science.


      • dangerdongle,

        And isn’t that how things work?

        People who don’t agree with what others think is an obvious truth can still succeed with their belief system of what does/doesn’t work. If we all thought alike & agreed on everything, there would be no innovation.

        Edith


        • You’re right of course.

          But it’d sure be a lot easier if everyone would just agree with me in the first place. I’m always right you know. 🙂

          I suspect there’s more than a little bias coming from the majority of the posters here, and I understand that passion tends to cloud one’s view of things.


    • A lot of the post 1st season failures in these small engines is due to alcohol being used to supplement our “dwindling reserves”breaking down their fuel lines and improper winterization, could be part of the vibration issues as well. I always make sure my 2 stroke mix has fuel stabilizer.Getting access to the carburetor can require all the plastic parts on weedeaters and sometimes some metal parts on chainsaws to be removed.


      • Reb
        You can always run the fuel out of it and then there is no fuel to degrade or gum up the insides, that is what I do and never have any trouble from season to season.

        buldawg


  20. What the heck is going on? Ever since the format change getting something to actually post is hit or miss. I’ve posted twice now, neither showed up, posted my test thing above which DID show up, and when I tried to repost what I tried to post originally I get a message saying “duplicate post, you’ve already said that”????????


    • dangerdongle,

      It’s definitely not the new blog format. I just found your first & repeat blog post in the spam folder. Apparently, something in your comment was picked up by the spam filter. I approved the first one & trashed the duplicate. I’m also removing the TEST post you put out.

      For future reference, please post a comment just one time. If it hits the spam folder by mistake, either Tom or I will find it (usually in short order) and approve it. We get hundreds of spam comments every day, so the spam filter is pretty far-reaching and occasionally catches legitimate comments. Out of the hundreds of spams it catches every day, it may trap up to 3 legitimate comments. Personally, I would rather trap a few legit comments than have hundreds of spam comments posted every day on the blog posts.

      Edith


      • BTW,

        In the time that it took to quickly type up the above comment to your comment, 8 more spams were posted to the spam folder. I check the spam folder about every 2-5 minutes from the minute I get up until I finally drop at the end of the day. It’s a full-time job by itself. So, please wait a few minutes. If your comment is caught by a spam filter, don’t repost it. We’ll find it and get it cleared.

        Thanks,
        Edith



  21. Pellet Gun Magazine (Publication)
    I would like to get a subscription to a good, hardcopy magazine about Airguns, specifically Pellet Guns.
    Any suggestions will be appreciated.



      • Edith,
        I spotted an airgun magazine with a feature on a Powerline 44 cartridge gun not long ago.I looked and it was available through PA so I tried to share it here twice, it happened over a weekend and I figured it would clear by the weekend but never saw it here.
        Anybody hear anything about Daisy’s first step into the PCP realm?


        • Reb,

          That’s Airgun Hobbyist magazine.

          I looked at all your comments from the past weekend, and I don’t see anything with a link to Pyramyd Air’s website. All comments are automatically sent to me, so I checked your comments in my email program but don’t see anything there with a link to Pyramyd Air’s website. That means it was not caught by the spam filter and inadvertently deleted. It never hit the blog at all. Sorry!

          Edith



          • It was on the magazine cover but not in production yet but it was no 10m rifle. It was what appeared to be a big bore cartridge pistol in .44. It may have been this last weekend or 2 or 12 weekends ago if you’d like to try to retrieve it for us.

            Reb


            • Reb,

              Airgun Hobbyist magazine’s current issue (Oct/Nov/Dec) has a picture of a MAC (Magnum Air Cartridge) gun on the front cover. It’s not a Daisy. The model is the MAC35 made by Inovairtech. Further down on the cover is a mention about Daisy, but it references an article about the National BB Gun Championships. It’s unrelated to the blurb on the cover about the pistol picture.

              Inside the magazine is an article about the Daisy Powerline 44 (not .44), which is a vintage Daisy CO2 gun.

              Edith


              • They got me! That would be it. Is there a reason I couldn’t share PA’s facebook photo and maybe ad for the magazine here? PA sent it to me! I wanted to share it so we could figure out what it was and what was going on with the championships.



  22. Hello Tom,

    What would happen if I installed roller thrust bearings in my Crosman Quest 1000? I tuned it a long time ago and it shoots okay now but really jumps, buzzes, and vibrates when shot. Would this help smoothen the firing cycle?

    Barrel lockup is also a problem on the old rifle, if there a way to help this? The bore looks nice still and I redid the stock, pointed and fluted the comb, mended the fore end rails, installed a grip cap inlay, and refinished the stock. I’d like to get it back shooting good again, it’s served me well over 10,000 shots or so but I’d like to see it keep going if I can.

    Thanks!
    Andre


    • Andre, I looked through a few catalogs not long ago, dreaming about smoothing out my QB-36. It’s supposed to reduce torquing of the spring but that’s only one part of the recoil equation.

      Reb


    • I have a Crosman Quest too. I was told by a dealer to not bother with expensive work other than spring lube and seal. At that time the Diana 34 was $199. and that $200 could not make the Quest a Diana 34. But I would be curious to see if you can improve the Quest.


    • Andre,

      A roller thrust bearing is not going to quiet your powerplant. You probably have a bent or broken mainspring. That’s usuallb what causes vibration to start up like you describe. And 10K shots is about when it happens.

      Check that first.

      It could also be a broken rear spring guide. They will cause the gun to buzz if they get caught when the gun fires.

      B.B.


      • It’s buzzed like that from the box, and the lube tune with spring replacement helped a little, but it’s still buzzing. It does shoot ~920 in .177 so it shoots fast, which might be part of the jump. Just a powerful spring in a light gun.
        I’m not trying to reduce rifle jump but maybe smoothen the cycle, not to reduce noise but create a more back and forth shot cycle and less twisting.
        I think I will try it anyhow, it can’t hurt things and if it doesn’t work out I have a thrust bearing I can use for another project.



  23. B.B, Edith or whomever,

    Wow no more Bronco! I gave mine away and now feel a void. I may have to get one to keep. I wonder if there will be a run on them now.

    Question I have is can I still get the aperture sight kit to convert a standard Bronco into a “Target Pro”? Or do I just have to choose one or the other? I recall purchasing just the sight kit when they first came out but I can’t find it on PA’s site.

    Mark N


  24. Or why is a $10,000 Rolex wristwatch less accurate than an $800 Citizen Eco-Drive?

    Horrors… $800 for a Citizen watch?

    I’m sure I paid less than $400 for my Skyhawk AT, and that is one of the more complex Citizen models (besides the Eco-Drive solar cell charging system, it has a receiver for WWV-B [US time station] AND Japanese and European time stations], has dual time [digital and analog can be on different time-zones], while also displaying hands showing UTC and 24-hour differentiation… AND has a circular slide-rule bezel… And is water resistant to 200m).

    Granted — it did have a recall for a firmware update… It failed to handle a leap-day properly.


  25. I would blame the marketing arm for the price point it is being sold in. The other day I talked to a medical representative regarding the pricing of their lancets. Although the product has its good points (painless, non-metallic, biodegradable) it was priced $1 almost ten times higher than the traditional lancets ($0.12). So I asked him how they expected to sell these things. All he could say was that he would get back to me as soon as he talked to marketing.


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