What makes them last?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• Starting with the Beeman R1
• Then came the TX200
• Benjamin 392
• Why do they last?
• Feel
• Power and accuracy
• A great trigger
• Summary

I was overwhelmed by comments and spams yesterday morning. I worked from 7:15 a.m. into 10 a.m., just cleaning out the spam filters and answering questions. So, the accuracy test I’d hoped to conduct had to be postponed until another day. I needed a report that didn’t take a lot of prep time, so I found this one in my book of blog topics.

Starting with the Beeman R1
Why do certain airgun models seem to last forever in the market, while others come and go so fast? Why, for instance, has the Beeman R1 lasted from 1981 until today — a run of 34 years? What makes that airgun so special, while other rifles that were very nice in their own right disappeared so quickly?

Nothing about the Beeman R1 stands out as classic today, and, yet, that’s the secret of its success. When it was new in 1981, it was the most powerful modern air rifle you could buy. It achieved 940 f.p.s. in .177 caliber from the factory. Within 2 years, that went up to the magic 1,000 f.p.s. The mere thought of such awesome power from a pellet gun sends boys like me to bed with visions of springs and pistons dancing in our heads.

It took me a decade before I finally got my R1, but I was just as thrilled then as the day I first saw it in the Beeman catalog. It is a huge air rifle — much larger and heavier than a Winchester model 70 deer rifle! And Beeman packaged it so well in that double-wall cardboard box that the first opening was like a movie premier! Some companies understand that and still package their airguns that way today. Umarex/Walther comes to mind. Other manufacturers do not package their airguns as well and they don’t make the same lasting impression. Theirs are the guns that come and go so quickly.

I was so impressed by the R1 that I actually wrote a book about it! I was awed by everything that rifle had/did/was. But when I shot it at 50 yards, I got 3-inch 5-shot groups. Of course, those were the days before I knew about the artillery hold, and my appreciation of pellets was pretty much based on price, alone. I bet I could do much better today.

The R1 is the rifle I used for my 13-part blog report titled Spring gun tune. It seemed like a natural for that role because it disassembles so easily. Yes, I still have a lot that’s nice to say about the Beeman R1.

Then came the TX200
Hot on the heels of the Beeman R1 came the TX200 from Air Arms. I was fresh from finishing the R1 book; and if any air rifle ever deserved a book of its own, the TX200 did. But I was still hurting from the R1 book. It would take 7 years before Edith and I broke even on our investment for that book. I did start a book on the TX, but I never got very far.

If the R1 was groundbreaking, then the TX200 was planet-shattering! It still is today! I owned the Mark II that needed a tune to do well. But when the Mark III came out, Air Arms’ work was done. That’s a rifle that needs nothing — right out of the box! The TX has been with us since the late 1980s, so there are 25+ years of success behind it — and it’s stronger than ever today.

Compare that to the ill-fated Tech Force 99 underlever that went through many iterations — each one “fixing” all the flaws of the earlier models! That’s the rifle that I used to shoot my couch in an ill-fated 25-yard accuracy test! Sure, you could almost buy 3 TF 99s for a TX200, but why would anyone want to? I’m sorry if I’m stepping on toes right now, but this is how I feel. And, I note that the TX200 is still in production. Remember — this is a report about why some airguns last longer than others.

Benjamin 392
I could go on and talk about the FWB 124 or the HW77, but let’s now turn our attention to some other classics — starting with Benjamin’s ever-popular 392. If the R1 has had a long life, then the 392 is Methuselah! In 1992, it sprang from the ashes of the 342 that started life in 1969. And the 342 was just a modernized 312 that began back in 1940! That’s a run of 75 years! I hope Crosman remembers to honor that record this year!

The 392 is an underlever multi-pump pneumatic that now stands alone, since the Sheridan Blue Streak was discontinued in 2013. It brings variable power and accuracy to the shooter at a remarkably affordable price. Yes, there’s also a .177-caliber 397 if that tickles your fancy, but it has always stood in the shadow of its larger brother.

The 392 is not an easy airgun to make! The automated machinery that solders the barrel to the pump tube is large, complex and costly to operate, and I’m sure, some day, the bean counters will declare it to be too much trouble and cost. They’ll be right, because sales are not what they were 20 years ago. But there will never be another machine to take its place.

The rifle is comfortable, in that it slows down the action because of needing to be pumped for each shot. Many shooters, including me, find that very relaxing. A Benjamin pneumatic has been on the market continuously since 1899, and the 392 proudly carries the banner today.

Crosman 1077
I could have picked several other CO2 rifles, but the 1077 seems to embody what I’m trying to say in this report. It’s not an expensive airgun, but it is accurate. It’s made with a lot of plastic, yet it endures. The trigger starts out stiff and hard and breaks in after thousands of shots to become buttery smooth. It is an air rifle that has endured the test of time.

Whenever I want a gun to shoot fast and accurately, a 1077 is invariably the gun I select. I own 2 of them and haven’t a thought of getting rid of either one. In fact, I fell in love with this gun again when I tested the 1077 for you last year.

Why do they last?
So, there you have some airguns that have lasted. Now, the question becomes: Why? Let’s say that you’re a new-hire engineer working at Crosman. Wouldn’t you like to develop a model airgun that was still in production on the day you retire? Think what that would do for your career! “Don’t mess with Simmons — he’s the guy who invented the Backyard Blaster! The front office thinks he’s golden!”

Feel
To hold the public’s attention a gun needs to feel good! It needs to hold you back when you grasp it. There’s a lot of room for advancement in this department, but the new Walther LGU is an example of a feel-good air rifle. The P08 pistol is another good example

Power and accuracy
People want both power and accuracy. The TX200 Mark III has both. So does the Condor by AirForce Airguns. It’s hard to argue with success, and hitting the target is the very definition of success for a rifle.

A great trigger
How many times have you read about a trigger being compared to a Rekord trigger? So often, I’ll bet it piqued your interest in the Rekord. Just how nice are they, you wonder? That’s what sells airguns, and that’s what keeps them current and on the market.

No one ever said, “I hope this trigger weighs 8 lbs. and is as creepy as an IRS audit!” Shooters like good triggers, and will forgive other sins to get them.

Summary
In short, what keeps some airguns fresh and alive are a combination of good attributes that all contribute to performance. Nobody buys the second time on price, alone! “I just love that Slumgullian restaurant! The food tastes awful and the service is bad, but the prices are so low!” Nope — they don’t do it! Not even the ones who say they do.

Airgun makers who are selling on price, alone, are playing a lethal game of craps. Every time they rename a product and spend a few thousand on new box graphics and stock paint, they’re betting the future of their company. Sooner or later, the odds catch up and people get fired. All the while, the few companies that produce real quality are on the sidelines, quietly working hard to fill orders.

Sure, the boards of directors will sometimes reward the flash-in-the-pan geniuses who were lucky enough to catch an unanticipated swell of sales. But they’ll more often hand pink slips to those who were there when it was discovered that the emperor was really naked! Playing the price game with airguns is like playing hopscotch in a minefield.

The market really isn’t that difficult to figure out. To sell John Brown what John Brown buys, you have to see the world through John Brown’s eyes.

146 thoughts on “What makes them last?

  1. Can’t much argue with that. Rebrands are like burying the guns in the pet sematery, they aren’t going to come back any better then the first time around. If you aren’t making the very best of established designs, make new designs or don’t make anything. Cars are a good comparison, they have all the same attributes, power level, style, durability and ease if use/repair. The classic cars that are still on the road are from companies that still make cars.


  2. B.B.,
    Thanks for reminding me of the 392! My last shooting session with it revealed that I must’ve accidentally lubed it with my leather seal oil But I’d really like to see this 3120 in action. Problem is I had it disassembled when I went into the hospital and Tim says he won’t work on guns that someone else has attempted to repair. I think the guy’s sure I’m a nutcase by now! Sounds like I need another option,Huh?

    Reb


    • Reb
      If you want to box it up and send it to me I will see if I can get it put together for you as I have been given an old silver streak and another 1400 that I have brought back to life so as long as parts are still available it should not be a problem to get it working, besides I like challenges that keeps me thinking and moving so I don’t get bored and depressed.

      Just let me know and if you don’t have my address still I will email it to you if you want me to get it back together for you.

      BD


      • It’s a basketcase to be sure and I don’t think the pumparm is very salvageable so I tried to get one from Mac1 but he won’t sell one unless he does the work on the gun. Maybe B&A will? I’ll go see what I can find in my e-mails.


        • Reb
          Just let me know and give what you know it needs sent to my email and I will look on ebay and other sources that I know of and see if I can locate the parts needed to get it back to shooting shape.

          BD


      • Unfortunately I can’t find either of your addresses in my e-mails. I had them both starred for quick reference but they’re gone now. would you happen to have GF1’s too so I can at least send him the money for this Regal? I see he just got a new monsoon so I’m sure he could use some pellets. I was trying to get this done this morning but it ain’t looking like that’s gonna happen either.
        Thanks for the offer!

        Reb


  3. BB
    See what happens when you work real hard and try to do the right thing.

    You end up with a quality blog that goes on for years and years and you have to answer questions and such for almost 3 he’s a day.

    Some people call that work. I call it success.
    😉



      • Edith and Bugbuster
        It’s official now.

        Spell check is turned off on my dumb phone. ( I will never call it a smart phone from here on out) well unless it happens to impress me some way in the near future.

        All mis spells are my own fault from now on. Who knows what will happen now. And if I don’t catch it and its not right please forgive me ahead of time.

        Thank U. Really i did that. Not the phone. Just see’n if your watch’n. 🙂


        • Spell check aside I’m close to getting rid of my “smart” phone altogether. I’m not tech illiterate (I got through a year of computer science in University before changing majors) but my experiences with a smartphone remind me of what an airline pilot friend of mine says about flying an Airbus: “You’re always saying one of three things: what’s it doing now? why is it doing that? or look! it’s doing it again!”

          Eventually I’m going to get a TX200. Everyone who has shot one raves about it. I bought an HW77 a while back instead of a TX because I had been wanting one since I say my first Beeman catalog back in the early 90’s and because I like the looks better than the TX. On the other hand I think the TX looks better than the current restyled HW77!


          • The wife and I still carry flip phones. We don’t text. We don’t web. We don’t selfie. We joke around that the sole purpose of our phones is so she can get in touch with me when she wants to. In all seriousness though, I have no use for those touchy screeny searchy webby talky with your finger thingys. Our flip phones work better as phones than those things.

            We have not bought a phone since we started our service many, many years ago. When we wear one out, we get the old ones for free from work where they upgraded to the “smart” ones.


            • RR
              Have you ever tryed the Chairgun program?

              You can get a app and have it on your phone.

              Kind of nice to have a quick reference when your out away from your house and you want to plug in some different scope zeroing in distances. Then pull up the scope reticle view and try the holdovers it gives you with the pellet your using.

              Then if you don’t like that zero distance set up punch in a new number and pull it up and try it.

              All from your phone while your out shooting. Well if your worried about that kind of stuff.


              • Oh and we use texting at work all the time about what needs to be done.

                No such thing as a intercoms at work anymore. Heck I can text a picture of a part I’m making in the machine shop to a engineer and see if its for sure what they want. And he can text me back and we don’t even have to leave the spot we are at.

                So darn anyway I do have a pretty smart phone.

                Ok phone if your listening. Sorry for calling you a dumb phone. And please behave from now on. Ok
                🙂


                • Gunfun
                  I am with you on smart phones as I would not have one now but my old flip phone died about a year and a half ago and I got my iPhone when they had a sale so I have learned to use it but only for talking, texting and sending pics.

                  It does not get used to surf the internet or social media at all and I can see where it would be an asset at work for you and save a lot of walking and time like you said.

                  I think over half the craziness in this country today can be traced back to social media in one form or another because it allows for way to much non face to face interaction to take place in which emotions and reality are non existent.

                  Einstein said many years ago the when the technology in the world becomes advanced enough that face to face interaction is no longer required to communicate with people that we will be left with a world full of idiots and I believe that time is know upon us.

                  BD


                  • Buldawg
                    The other day Bugbuster made the comment about its the person behind the gun that pulled the trigger and its the person punching the buttons on the phone.

                    And that I very true what he said and what you said about Einstein.

                    Look at the 3D printers now. Same there. They can be used for good or bad. Its all about who is pulling the trigger so to speak.


                    • Gunfun
                      You and bugbuster are exactly right about its all about who is pulling the trigger so to speak.

                      there was a news report a few months ago of a teenager or very young adult that printed a 357 caliber gun on a 3d printer and was arrested by the ATF for manufacturing a gun. it most likely would have only shot once if that depending on the material used to print it but just the fact that it can be done is scary enough with out any way to prevent it from being done again gun control will be useless in a scenario such as that one.

                      If people would just be held accountable for their own actions it would not be so bad but nowadays the blame is always placed on the manufacture or some where it has no business being as an inanimate object cannot kill or injure someone by it own accord it has to be a person responsible for the use of it for the injury or death to occur.

                      BD



                • RR
                  See if you messed with Chairgun you may be able to find a better scope height that would match you pellets weight and velocity. And with the right zero distance you could set up your gun so you wouldn’t have to worry about as much hold over at different distances.

                  Depending on what kind of shooting your doing you may not have to put in any hold over to hit a target that is a given height.

                  That’s what Chairgun will help with.


                  • I mount the scope as low as I can and then shoot. It does not take as long to figure all of that out as it would to learn how to use that thing and for the cost of it I can buy a big bunch of pellets or a nice air rifle like a TX200 MKIII.


            • RR I will second GFG1 comment about Chairgun program as it is a very useful tool and the app on a smart phone is nice to have in the field to use to determine aim points and trajectories.

              So smart phone do have some nice qualities about them. I am with you on no social media whatsoever in my world because if it cannot be done on the phone by talking or texting then I am not interested in doing it, plus once it is out there on the world wide web it can never be deleted.

              if I still worked and was able to get the old phones from work I would still probably have a flip phone but my old one died so I had no real choice and got a great deal on one so I took the plunge but it is still only for talking , texting and sending pictures.

              BD



                • Gunfun
                  Its the spell check between my ears and I have tried to get it fixed but the docs say there is no hope for me and I just have to learn to slow down and reread what I type as I do most of the time but I was also just seeing if you were paying attention LOL.

                  I promise I will do better in the future but please don’t put me on restriction just give me three licks with a belt and let me go back out and play.

                  BD





                    • gunfun
                      Now I know the problem as I have been being brainwashed and never even knew it, man our govt is getting good.

                      I don’t think my brain is capable of being washed as there is not enough left to even put in the machine that does that so I guess I am safe from that but our kids are not and there is more truth in that than you or me really know.

                      It is happening right under our nose in schools with this Common Core crap that the occupant in the white house is pushing on our kids

                      BD


              • I can buy a lot of pellets for the cost of one of them there “smart” phones and can get a lot of shooting time in with the time it takes to learn how to use one of those things.

                Shoot, for the cost of one of those things I can buy a TX200 MKIII. See BD, you could have bought one, but chose to spend your money on that toy instead. The phone companies still give away the flip phones.

                Just bustin’ your chops Dude. 😉




                    • RR
                      The leadmen and techs all had a pager and phone that the company provide for us.

                      But you know what I always thought was funny about that. You would check your pager to see who called you. Then you called them on your phone.

                      My question is why and the heck didn’t we just call them on our phones back then.

                      Some body had a money making gimmick going on there.


                • RR
                  Actually my smart phone only cost me 99 bucks as I said I got it when they had a sale going on, but that is still a lot of pellets as you stated.

                  Yea I could have got another flip phone cheaper but I do use it for a GPS travel and roads locator and some other useful things so it is handy in some respects, but you are right I could have bought a TX for what you pay if its at full price of 600 plus and I can assure you I would not have it if I had to pay that for it.

                  I know you are bustin my chops and sometimes I need some one to bust them keep me inline as the wife is not always around to do it.

                  BD



                    • RR
                      So you are bustin my chops and you buy a camera when smart phones also have cameras so I got a phone and a camera in one package, lets see you talk on your camera LOL

                      BD


        • Gunfun
          Ok I will not let you use the excuse that it spells wrong because it don’t know how to speak English due to it being made in china LOL.

          Did I tell you I am a happy camper now that my 2240 tubes will be in the mail shortly LOL.

          I know I have some old pellet guns of my own that still work to this day and was given a couple old ones that I was able to bring new like to them also.

          I am stuck in the 60s and 70s anyway so the older the better in my book.

          BD


          • Buldawg
            Yes you did tell me that Lloyd is almost done with your pcp tubes for the 2240’s you have.

            I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

            And just got back from dropping the Monsoon off at the UPS store. We’ll see how that all goes. You and RR know what happened but I don’t think I mentioned it here. Shot it a few times and now the bolt won’t cycle all the way back. Yep even exspensive guns break. I will say my other one was a good one though. Oh well at least its under warrenty and they paid for the shipping back. I hope it don’t take a half a month to get it back.

            And look I think I’m getting the hang of this spelling stuff. I don’t think I messed up yet with spell check turned off.

            Thanks for the advise Edith.


            • Gunfun
              Yes he said he should have them done this week and should be in the mail back to me by next week so I am anxious to get them back and put together to get them tuned and sighted to see if the Disco barrel or the Avanti barrel is more accurate. It should be a close test and most likely it will be so close that it is going to boil down to the person pulling the trigger.

              Yea I hope they do a quick turn around on the monsoon also as it always sucks having to send something back and wait for it to be fixed. You are at their mercy now so I hope it is quick but at least you did not have to pay shipping back.

              I just need to slow down on my replies as I am still stuck in the time is money mode from all the years working on cars for flat rate. it took me over a year at Harley to get that mentality out of my system as it was definitely not a fast paced environment there at all.

              So I will try to slow down and get names right and all my grammar good as best I can LOL

              BD


          • Buldawg
            I don’t know if this will post in the right place.

            As far as the 3D printers go. I think I see something coming that some people won’t like and some will.

            I see them having to be registered and licensed to own. And maybe only certain types of company’s will be able to own or purchase them. And of course people will find ways around that. Just like the criminals getting a gun if they want it.

            They will be government controlled. Let’s watch and see if I’m right. I’m sure that’s going to be interesting to see how it all works out.


            • Gunfun
              I would not bet with you on that because you are probably right on that account as if they are capable of actually printing a usable gun as Baron Wulfraed had stated in a much earlier blog as there are many different materials that can be used to print items with and some of those contain metal.

              You are also right in that if criminals want guns they get them so even if they are licensed and registered it will not keep someone from using them for illegal purposes.

              I just got a price from the guy with the B40 of 250 bucks so let me know your thoughts and remember it has a vortek kit and o-ringed piston in it also along with the record cloned trigger.

              BD


              • BD,

                Tom has always contended that if the feds ever wanted to get rid of guns, they’d have to close down Home Depot, Lowes and all other places that sell tubing, lathes and other machinery. And, people made guns long before there were manufacturers and modern machines pumping them out.

                Edith


                • Edith
                  Now you are reading my mind as there is more than one way to skin a cat.

                  I remember making Zip guns as a kid with old retractable car antennas and 22 shells and I still have all eight fingers and two thumbs. There was also a lot of luck involved with them homemade guns

                  BD


        • Gunfun1,

          YAY!!!

          We had our first significant snowfall here today and I just got finished making a cauldron of venison chili, several hours worth. I was trying to respond to some replies to my previous blogs when I ran across yours and couldn’t resist!

          Have a couple of ideas for testing AG recoil if you are interested.

          Bugbuster


          • Bugbuster
            I was just talking to Buldawg about Chili cheese dogs with onions and some Frito’s over the weekend. That’s what I made Sunday.

            And yes I’m interested in your idea of (at gun) recoil testing. But will it be actual measured numbers or a rating scale?


            • Gunfun1,

              It would actually be able measure free recoil in FPE in either direction if I am thinking correctly. It will be necessary for it to be a precision and as close to frictionless (air bearings) assembly as possible.

              In a nutshell, there will have to be a strong but lightweight cradle into which the rifle will be firmly attached. This assembly will glide, ideally on air bearings (four required), on the two parallel rods/shafts which will be part of the main frame. On the center axis of the cradle will be a rod which has to be firmly attached to it with a hardened ball on both ends. This ball/balls will impact a lead plate which will be firmly attached to the inside ends of the main frame assembly, the principle being similar to a Brinell hardness tester. Obviously, the deeper the impression, the higher the recoil which should be easily converted into foot pounds by comparing the size of the indent against the “standards”.

              It should not be difficult to make a set of “standards” provided that the composition of the lead remains constant. The rifle would be fired remotely by a small bladder placed inside the trigger guard and inflated with air until the sear releases. It will require a lot of precision work and expense, watcha think?

              Bugbuster


              • Bugbuster
                What about the forward movement that a spring or nitro piston gun makes first when the piston travels forward and comes to a stop. Then comes the rearward recoil from the piston bouncing. All while the pellet is trying to leave the barrel.

                That’s part of the shot cycle that is felt too. So the next step in the measuring device needs to measure, forward, rearward, barrel rise, barrel fall and vibration of the gun. All those characteristics need to be measured if the machine will be a measuring device. And all air guns recoil in different ways. They don’t go just straight back.

                So more work to do on that measuring device.


                • Oh and all those characteristics are felt recoil of air guns. And they differ from one powerplant to the next.

                  Pcp has its own distinct movement compared to a nitro piston gun. And then a spring gun has other distinct characteristics that the nitro piston or pcp air gun have.

                  So first you have to see what kind of movement each one of the powerplants make to be able to measure them correctly.


              • Bugbuster
                You are on the right track in needing a sliding cradle for the gun to be held firmly in place but it need to be capable of moving in a 360 degree range of movement as GF1 said as spring guns mostly have the highest recoil of any air gun. There are potentiometers that look like a gas spring or shock assy without the coil spring on it and it can measure forward and backward movement in terms of distance traveled, velocity of movement ( harshness and speed ) and also force of the movement and can be set to record in whatever units of measurement needed for the testing parameters. The same potentiometers can be used to measure up and down movement of the gun in a given shot cycle as well, but the gun fixture would not only need to move fore and aft but up and down so it would need to be mounted to a pivoting sled type base that is connected from the gun fixture to the fixed frame that the potentiometer are connected to with a dual system of low friction bearings that allow for movement in a X axis as well as the Y axis. it can be done and I would wager to bet that the major spring gun manufactures have such devices as well as vibration tables to measure spring vibration when shot so to be able to fine tune the spring used in certain guns to achieve the desired shot cycle characteristics. If they do not have this equipment then they are just guessing as to what works best and how smooth or harsh the gun shoots and if they do not own and utilize such measuring tools then the guns they make are of a very hit and miss design and durability will likely be very poor and not accepted well by the public.

                One case in point is crosman new Trail NP2 which has been touted as being smoother and less harsh on the recoil than a standard NP gun. Well I have a NP gun and just before Christmas bought a trail NP2 and its shot cycle was so harsh and unrefined that it in no way even in the same department as the plain NP is as far as shooting is concerned and was only marginally more powerful by 70 fps for any given pellet as compared to the same pellets in my 22 cal titan so in my opinion crosman dropped the ball with the NP2 as it went backwards instead of forewords in the smoothness and light recoil characteristics in a big way and that is why my gun got sent back ASAP.

                BD


  4. B.B.,

    Thank you for another fine article. I think one like this, at least for those that “absorb” it, help remind us to stay grounded. You are like the “Consumer Reports” of the air gun industry. Calling it like you see it, with informative reports that help consumers make well informed purchases. It’s is so easy to get caught up in the latest trend or fad.

    And by the way, from reading past archives , some of your very best one’s are the one’s that don’t feature any particular gun at all. Rather, the one’s that are on some random topic, concept or something else,.. are the ones that really shine,.. because you really seem to stop and reflect and give us a real look into a man with your vast experience and perspective on things.

    That, at least in my book, makes for a good read. You know you got it right when a reader keeps re-thinking something he reads for (days),… and not just a few moments.


    • Chris, USA,

      Thank you for that. I actually really want to write another article that might even have several parts to it. I have been doing a lot of looking and some buying on Gun Broker and I want to write a tutorial about how to find the bargains that nobody else is bidding on. Also, how to spot the dishonest sellers, so you can avoid them.

      But I don’t know how many readers would like something like that.

      B.B.




          • BB
            I have bought quite a few good air gains from gunbroker for cheap prices and have not had any issue with the sellers.
            I got the 40 dollar Firepower which is a crosman vantage/quest clone in a synthetic stock, a Benjamin titan in 22 cal that was just under 100 bucks and is now owned by GF! and it was one of the best shooting nitro guns I have shot and GF1 say it is the best one he has ever shot, also I bought a crosman venom, 177 nitro gun that shoot just the same as the titan and firepower does also so the deals are out there you just have to look thru the adds every few days and get lucky. I also bought a Remington genesis for 40 buck that shoots fair but need a lube tune to get the spring noise down and smooth the recoil out.

            So I feel I have bought some good guns for very decent prices and am currently looking for another titan in 22 to replace the one I traded to GF1

            BD




      • B.B.,

        Sounds good. While I don’t plan to buy and sell any time soon, it would be good to know what the “water” is like when your swimming with “sharks” in the area. I did get the Blue Book. It was cool to see you in it, as I had no idea. You really do spread yourself pretty thin. And if I recall, don’t I remember you saying that you were getting back into “Field Target” competition? I would love to see that!

        The “Toys That Shoot” event seems to be just a show, were as the “Pyramid Air Cup” seems to be a competition. Is that something that you attend or would compete in? Perhaps you can tell from my questions that I have never been to either.

        Keep up the great work!,…Chris

        P.S.,…Where did the monopod go? Thinking of getting something to practice indoors with, with the TX,… aside from my “Rig-A-Rest”.



  5. Interesting that you start off with the R1. I had been airgunning for a couple years when it showed up in my “Bible”, the Beeman airgun catalog. Almost 1,000 fps was unbelievable! And today there are airguns capable of the same–in .22! As I recently rekindled my love of airguns, I was both surprised and pleased to see that the earlier airguns I had owned were still in production: the Pumpmaster 760, 2100 American Classic (well-named, no?), and 1377. In addition to power and materials technology, the biggest difference I see today are advances in pellet quality and selection, and much better optics at much, much lower prices. These are good days to be an airgunner!


  6. Anyone interested in a Whiscombe JW80?
    Its a dual calibre: .177 & .22
    32 fpe
    Its only fired a few shots. Only 40 are made of that model.
    I believe 2600 euro.
    If someone is interested, let me know. I dont know the guy personally, but its an official gunsmith. Ill be willing to make some phonecalls and get you in touch with him.




      • BB
        Please do the gun broker thing.
        Your book led me to seek an R1, an effort that took 10 years! Love that rifle,but it’s difficult to shoot accurately. Looking foward to the RWS 45 tune.


        • I dont get it. A lot of people with the US version of the hw80, the famous r1, say its difficult to shoot. As far as I know only the stock is different. The action is the same. In Europe its amongst the best spring shooters. My hw80 will shoot 115 to 117 points from a total of 120 points at a standing 10 meter match at an Olympic 10m card. As we speak I just finished 3 practice sessions 10m Olympic kneeling with the hw80. Got 2×118 and 1×119 points from a total of 120 points. The point of impact doesnt even change between the different shooting positions. Standing and kneeling it has the same POI.
          So the only reason I can think of, is the difference in the stock. Maybe that beautiful r1 stock does strange things to the rifle. Maybe B.B. has some thoughts about this?


          • Dutchjozef,

            Does your rifle develop 16 foot-pounds? That may be the difference. The 80mm stroke on the R1/HW80 means there is a considerable bump at the end of the piston travel. I shot an R1 (U.S. spec.) that had a Tyrolean stock and the recoil actually gave me a headache.

            You are a fine shooter and that has a lot to do with your success, but are we talking about the same gun?

            B.B.


  7. BB–I bought a copy of your R1 book in the 1990,s. I still do not have an R1, but I learned a lot from your book. I used it last year when I got my R7 (adjusting the record trigger). Thank you for writing it. Ed


  8. Two more for the list IMO.
    The venerable Red Ryder…virtually unchanged since the middle ages and it still sells well 😉
    Slavia 630/631.
    Though seemingly not a popular seller in the US anymore, most dealers in Canada still sell it.
    I think the basic design has been around since the 70’s.


  9. Interesting article.

    It’s still hard for me to understand why some airgun models have lasted while others ceased production.

    The R1 is a good example. A better example, from Weihrauch, is the HW35.

    The HW35 was the first gun that Herman Weihrauch made in 1951. The millionth HW35 gun came off line in the 1980s. This millionth gun was a gold plated HW35. The HW35 has the same size piston seal as the more powerful HW80 (R1) but because of stroke never did and never will make the power the R1 does.

    Since the USA is primarily made up of airgun power junkies (APJ’s) it’s hard to understand why the HW35 is still being produced. Maybe Weihrauch can afford to be sentimental? Can’t believe it’s because of demand or sales figures.

    Maybe if other manufacturers could decipher this mystery they could create a model that would be produced 70 years from now.

    kevin


    • Kevin, the hw35 sells well in Europe. In my country theres no power limit, but almost any other European country has a power limit of 16 or 7,5 joules. Therefore people buy a mild powered quality rifle. The hw 35 is about half the price of the most expensive weihrauch s and dianas. And the 35 has a barrel-lock.
      So the rifle has some appealing selling points in Europe.


      • Dutchjozef,

        I know in countries that have power limits the HW35 is still a strong seller but it’s interesting to learn it still has a following in your country without power limits. Tradition sells?

        Also interesting that the HW35 is inexpensive in your country. Here in the USA a walnut stocked HW35 is one of or maybe the most expensive in their lineup. Thanks for commenting.

        kevin



  10. B.B.,

    Very interesting topic. I bet you could get into some serious depth with this. By the way, I have the chance to buy a Sheridan C9 Silver Streak on Saturday. I have inspected and shot the rifle several times now and I can tell you that the owner has treated it like a baby from day one. Keeping my limited experience in mind I would say it’s in 90% condition. I can’t find a blemish on it anywhere and it shoots great.

    I just don’t know if in the world of airguns this would be considered a “vintage” airgun. The owner bought it in 1972 I think he said (it was the early 70’s for certain). I don’t know why but these Benjamin and Sheridan multi pump guns interest me very much. I especially like the design.

    Do you recommend this rifle as a good place to start a collection? Thanks for your reply.

    G&G


  11. B.B.,I guess I didn’t make this sound like a proper question but I’m looking for someone to put my 3120 back in working order. /blog/2015/01/what-makes-them-last/#comment-310556

    Reb


  12. Webley over-lever pistols. Are they the longest produced airgun design? The Webley Tempest is still in production (now in Turkey rather than England). It’s the current variant of Webley’s Johnston-Fearn design of lifting barrel pistol that was first presented to the British public in 1923. The early versions made all of blued steel are more desirable than the modern ones that feature painted alloy frames but all the variants of the Webley pistol are good shooters that will last a lifetime


  13. Hi everybody…

    I think the products that endure are those that are well-made, durable, useful and fun to use. Those are usually not the products catering to short-lived fads but the ones that are well-designed and made to last (and are backed by good service from the factory).

    For example, I own several old studio headphones made by AKG. They are based on a design that was introduced in the mid-70s and all of the parts that wear out are still made today because AKG is still selling an updated version of that 70s model (the K 240).
    I think it’s awesome that I can still order most of the spare parts to keep a 40 year old headphone in working order (they are also still very good performers).
    In a way, you might consider this commercial suicide. You could sell a person a dozen “ultra bass” or rapper-endorsed celebrity headphones during the lifespan of these “workhorses”.

    But on the other hand… Guess what I’ll recommend to somebody asking me which quality headphones to buy.

    Speaking of really old airgun designs: In Germany, the Weihrauch HW35 is still alive and kicking. That one was introduced in the mid-50s and to my knowledge, the only thing they ever changed was the piston seal which was made from leather, originally.

    This is obviously not magnum gun (which is not a big problem here due to German weapons laws), but it just oozes class and quality and shoots really smoothly and accurately.

    My Diana 31P is a much younger design but as far as I can see, it doesn’t really do anything better than the Weihrauch other than power when you buy the “full power” version that you need a license for in Germany. The T06 is on par with the ancient Rekord trigger in my opinion.

    What the Weihrauch does better:

    -smoother shot cycle (at the same legal power level)
    -articulated cocking link (nicer stock)
    -no fiberoptics which are ugly and irritating
    -No wimpy plastic front sight but heavy duty metal
    -Interchangeable front sight inserts
    -Rubber butt cap (better grip)

    I’m not sure about accuracy and I know Tom has produced amazing groups with the Diana even at long range. I’m not a very good shot and as far as I can see, they’re both very accurate. So… not sure if the Diana would do better in a comparison.

    The Diana is a really nice gun, but knowing what I know now, I would have bought an HW35 instead. They’re around the same price here and I can’t help but stand in awe of the work the designers did more than half a century ago without the aid of computer technology and other modern tools.

    I guess on paper, the HW35 doesn’t look very impressive because it doesn’t have the latest gadgets or ultra power, but I suppose it’ll always have its fan base among the people who “know” 🙂

    I really like these timeless classics and I guess there must be at least some people who feel the same way… It seems Weihrauch is still selling enough of them to make production of the model worthwhile.

    Maybe it helps that Weihrauch is still run by the family and not by lawyers, or finance or marketing guys who don’t even know or like the product they’re selling 🙂

    Kind regards,
    Stephan


    • CptKlotz has hit the nail right on the head, I have noted BB bemoaning the compromises of magnum springers, and wishing for a simple, good quality, high accuracy rifle, with a superb trigger and medium power…..and then describing the HW35 as puzzlingly outmoded.
      With it’s short stroke and inherant accuracy…if you subtract 1000fps marketing nonsense from the equasion, they simply have not been surpassed, the R1/80 is heavier, has a slower lock time and greater recoil…and is somewhat more hold sensitive…people haven’t bought them for 65 years out of a sense of misty eyed nostalgia…but because they are fine for pest control at airgun hunting ranges, and you can leave it to your kids having done next to nothing to it for your 30 year ownership. I would happily take my 35 year old example rabbiting today, well run in, with the right pellet it will match any break barrel short of the R11 even now.
      The underlevers and sidelevers from AA, Diana and Weihrauch shade it marginally, mainly through weighing a few pounds more.
      But I can tell you that without doubt, my old girl will match the new FWB on paper target at 40 yards….so what price progress?


    • Stephan
      If Weihrauch get in the wrong hands….then its all over. A young marketing guy would make his mark. He’d start with the stocks. The stocks on the breakbarrels are….well….a bit out dated. Im a HUGE weihrauch fan, but the breakbarrel stocks could use some fresh styling. Them US stocks are much more pretty.

      Internal tollerances and all those other important things would vanish into thin air.

      I agree with you on most accounts, but Im not with you regarding the trigger. Ive owned a T06 350 feuerkraft/classic. In my opinion the weihrauch trigger is better than the Diana trigger.


  14. Tom,

    Off-topic, but I’ve been thinking about my suggestion for a “The Gambler,” a CO2 take on the classic double barrel derringer, as a candidate for the Legends product line.

    First, because the actual firearm is not a repeater, there is no reason it cannot be a pellet gun that does not employ replica cartridge shells. It could be chambered in (rifled) .177, and users would simply load one lead pellet into each muzzle.

    Second, at 65mm in length the 8 gram CO2 cart (once again easy to purchase) is likely small enough to get squeezed into the pistol’s grip. The 8 gram neck is a bit greater in diameter than that of the modern 12 gram ones, but that’s not really an overwhelming obstacle.

    Imagine a new, replica airgun that is perhaps as small or smaller than the Jaguar Arms Cub!

    The only obstacle I can think of is the absence of a triggerguard. Would that be a deal-breaker? There seems to be no issue with the Marushin Derringer Gas Airsoft Pistol.

    Michael


    • I can see the trigger guard being an obstacle in some markets, though as it’s single action who knows, it would be great to have one in, as you say, rifled, pellet spec, boxed with both 177 and 22 barrel sets, give it 4 ft/lbs and a 10 shot a capsule and it would be a heap of hilarity.


      • Dom,

        I’m afraid you must be misunderstanding me.

        CO2 as a propellant through what, 2 two-inch rifled barrels, each chambered for a SINGE .177 caliber lead pellet (not shell). That would produce one foot pound at the most per barrel/shot.

        Michael


        • No, I understood, there are modern versions of the Derringer designs that you can buy the swing up barrel part in several calibres (charter arms?) for a common lower…it would lend itself well.
          Surely part of the power of Co2 is down to valving rather than solely barrel length…at the expense of gas….in this style pistol, shot count wouldn’t be too much of an issue…..certainly firing pellets at 1ft/lb would be a bit underwhelming


          • Charter Arms makes powder-burners, real firearms. I’m proposing a completely different machine, a CO2 powered air pistol that merely looks like the actual firearm.

            CO2 and HPA (like black powder) are not like gunpowder. And CO2 airguns are not like springer airguns.

            No valve on Earth could have both the small size and sufficient efficiency to overcome the meager distance of 2 inches X .177 inch for the gas to fully expand before the projectile left the barrel. My estimate of 1 foot pound is actually optimistic. I’m thinking a 7 grain lead pellet would have a muzzle velocity of something slightly under 200 feet per second, which would produce under one foot pound of muzzle energy.

            Look, if you were to double the barrel length to four inches, I’d expect a 100 fps. increase. Double it again to eight inches, and I’d expect yet amother 100 fps increase, about 400 fps. But there are diminished returns. Double the barrel length again, to sixteen inches, and I thiink it would max out at about 450 fps. with a .177 grain pellet. Hot rod the valve and the hammer spring, too, and MAYBE you could get it up to 500 fps.

            The most souped up CO2 airguns commercially available produce only about 11 – 12 pounds of muzzle energy.

            As Chief Engineer Mr. Scott explained, “Ya canna break tha laws of physics!”

            Michael


  15. Hi BB,When you mentioned certain guns today you did so to develop a point and didn’t intend to make a complete list.I wonder about the RWS 34.How long has it been in production?The 34 as a steel springer gun. and the Benjamin Marauder as a PCP type ,each seem to fill a niche.They both offer good accuracy,quality of build and design beyond their price point.They allow a person to get a taste of what the expensive airgun can give them even if they can’t yet afford one.I guess we can wait and see ,but maybe this will propel them into a far future if the makers don’t cheapen them in quality over time.-TIn Can Man-



  16. Sorry to keep posting on this, but I just now discovered that, for what it’s worth, WinGun makes a full metal gas powered Nagant M1895 airsoft revolver.

    Michael


  17. @BB: Didn’t the 34 go through several versions of powerplants and triggers? I think you mentioned elsewhere that the 80s version wasn’t nearly as nice as the T05 and T06 versions.

    It must really seem like I am trashing the Diana. It’s a really nice rifle and would be even better with some detail improvements (less plastic, better scope rail, etc.).


  18. (I’m not talking about the plastic stock of the “Panther”, btw. It’s a very high quality plastic and it’s probably a matter of taste whether you prefer it to a wooden stock).


  19. B.B.,

    I was going to wait to until they were available to buy the new Colt Single Action Army but last night I got to thinking that the first shipment might sell out before they arrive. So, I ordered one last night. I got the Blued finish by the way. The more I looked the better I liked it. I did get the Python in the nickel finish. I just really like it.

    One thing I noticed though that I’m sure you will address in your next report is that the SAA does not have a rear sight. So probably not as much of an issue with acquisition due to the nickel finish. I think the lack of a rear sight is a little unusual. I can wait for your next report to learn about that.

    G&G


  20. Hi All,

    I’m new to this forum and hope that you can help me with an off topic question. I received an Umarex Octane 22 for Christmas. When shooting today, the scope went out of focus and nothing that I do can get it back in focus at any range (parallax setting) or magnification. It appears that something went wrong with the parallax adjustment. Is there anything that I can do to fix the scope (without voiding the warranty)? I really don’t want to have to return the gun since it was shooting so well.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance,

    Jim


    • Jim,

      There may be something you can do (and I’ll leave that up to others who know more). If the scope really is shot, I would contact Umarex USA in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. They just might send you a replacement scope without asking you to return the entire gun, too.

      Edith


    • JimQwerty123,

      You have come to the right place! I’m fairly new here myself and have recieved tons of help and advice and even bought a really nice higher end .22 rifle myself.

      If you don’t get an answer, keep asking and checking back to your post. There is so much you don’t even know ,….that you don’t even know you don’t know.

      Welcome, Chris


    • Jim,

      typically the scopes that come with rifle combos are bottom feeders. It’s doubtful there’s anything you can do to fix the scope. I’d go with what Edith said and contact Umarex. As the scope is not the best you can get, I’d consider upgrading to the $100 range. Pyramydair has some very nice scopes in this range.

      Welcome to the blog!

      Fred DPRoNJ (Democratik Peoples Republik of New Jersey)




    • thanks for all of the advise. I decided to bite the pellet and ordered one of the UTG Leapers scopes from PA. I liked the way the Octane shot too much to return it.



        • UTG 4-16 X 40 AO Swat, PA-A-3900. I believe that I’ll have a better scope on my air rifle than on my dear rifle. I have an old 2-7 Redfield wide field on top of my 270 that must be over 25 years old and has never had to be re zeroed in that time. When I tested fired it this year I hit the x-ring at 200 on the first shot. I hope the UTG works and lasts as well and as long.


  21. B.B.

    Excellent article, hitting exact spot! There are some combinations of steel, plastic and wood that are just classic, and nobody can outdo them or make them better.
    However, what I am to notice – classic means either hi-class workmanship and very good materials (= money) or some simple stamped thing (= el cheapo built in millions). From my experience there’s almost no examples of mid-range long-run classics. Perhaps it’s due to their inherent mid-range position – it’s either sink down price range (and technology) or withdraw from production.
    Maybe if someone could build “up-worked” mid-range airguns – e.g. like CFX (now phased out) with high quality work and custom features made serial (like gas springs, reworked trigger, better barrels and stocks) they could easily become new classics in their own way, because their concept is not bad at all to say the least.

    duskwight


  22. Duskwight,

    From what I’ve learned, it would seem that the key components would be the “secret”. And your comment on “wood, plastic, steel”, would be spot on as well. Used in the right combo of course. From one of B.B.’s comments, he try’s to tell mfgr’s the key points. Whether they listen or not is at their own peril.


  23. Hey guys, got my chrony!!! And yes my pendulum was a ways off, but still totally satisfied with the 890-900 with hn FTS in the airmag, 820-830 with the hunter extremes, 850-860 with the jsb 15s. The blaze is going 800 with cp mags, 835 with jsb 8.44, the 1377SL is maxing out at 675 with pumps 5-15 in the 600-650 range with jsb 8.44. All in all, 28ftlbs with the airmag is plenty for anything I’ll need, the 1377 is unbelievable accurate and the velocity is right where that should be, and the blaze can do better, it feels loose and haven’t messed with it for awhile so think I might tune it down a notch actually for easy cocking for target shooting with the kids down the road. Chrony, you have given me much to do, and I love you. Lol


    • Son of a gun to get the lighting right though so shots will register, anybody got lighting tips getting the lights right so its not a bunch of messing around and wasting pellets? Took a little while but got it going, maybe there’s an easy way the first time?


      • RDNA
        Good for you. Glad you got it.

        I got the green chrony and mine likes the shade outside.

        And got your end cap machined tonight. I should be able to get it in the mail tomorrow.


  24. I think in terms of long production runs of a very good (can I say classic?) design, we need to recognize Daisy’s model 25. Put in production in 1915, that would make it 100 years old this year.

    Daisy has come out with 70th and 75th anniversary editions of the Red Ryder. How about a Century Edition Model 25?

    Another gun that will be a classic, I predict, with be the Bronco. Solid design and workmanship, emphasis on accuracy rather than speed or fancy design. Priced just slightly above entry-level springers. When the supply of these runs out, their desirability will only increase.

    Les


  25. BB,
    I just received an order of pellets from P.A. and I didn’t get a catalogue.It wasn’t even on the packing list.Do they stop sending them after a customer has been sent a couple,or is a dollar amount for the order needed?

    I was wondering .I don’t need one.I gave an extra to a friend who wants to buy an airgun.After studying it for two weeks he told me he wants to get an airgun to hunt deer with.I feel that the only guns P.A. sells that are suitable are the San Yang Big Bore 44 909.and the Sam Yang Dragon Claw.Other than that I think he should talk to Dennis Quakenbush.The deer around here are usually taken at 50yards plus or minus a few feet.What do you think I should advise him?-TIn Can Man-




      • Edith,

        In regards to your comment to GF1;you got me laughing.You are funny.

        My further cooperation comes with one string attached ,if I may.That this does not lead to employee dismissal or damage to any-ones job security.Maybe just a two fingered slap on the wrist?Anyway the order # was 4815634.Thank You Edith

        Tin Can Man


        • TCM,

          Thanks for the order #. Rest assured that no one’s getting fired or disciplined. As far as I know, those packing lists are printed automatically, so there must have been something in the system that prevented a catalog from being included. If it had been listed on your packing list but not included in your box, then it would be attributed to employee error. Stuff happens. Mistakes happen.

          Edith


          • TCM,

            Just found out that it’s a programming error. The catalogs used to be a much larger format, so the system was programmed not to include a catalog in a pellet-only shipment (the box was too small). However, we now have smaller-format catalogs (they’re called “slim jims” 🙂 ), and they’re going to fix the programming so a catalog can fit into a pellet-only shipment.

            Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

            Edith


  26. I would love to see a 100th year anniversary Crossman Benjamin 397/392 and a Daisy model 25 100th year anniversary. I did buy the 125yr anniversary of Daisy model 25 in 2011 and the SE Benjamin 392 in 2006.


  27. Here’s a question, does the US make, or has it ever made a spring piston pellet air rifle?, are the Crosman one’s Chinese in origin or made wholly in plant?.
    I’m not talking limited editions or custom jobs….but full manufacture.
    I was brought to this by thinking about the UK manufacturers and how, as far as I know we just have Air Arms left.


  28. Gunfun1,

    Please help me out here, which of Tom’s blogs contained your original post between you and I believe Buldawg76 concerning recoil ratings of air guns? I would like to review them so that I can give you an accurate and comprehensive response to your last comment.

    Bugbuster


    • Bugbuster
      I don’t remember. Sorry.

      But I did give you some more info above today about different types of air gun power plants verses recoil characteristics.

      And what I suggested when me and Buldawg was talking about a air guns movement was a way to easily rate what the shooter felt on a 1 to 5 rating scale.

      Buldawg said when he worked at Harley they had measuring devices placed all around the motorcycle to pick up vibrations,movement and sound I believe he said also.

      So that is some of the things I remember that we talked about.

      Let me know if I missed something or what you come up with.


  29. BB,
    Love your blog and am responding for my first time. Speaking about making them last, I have an HW 77 I bought while stationed in the UK, marked with “Hull Cartridge” on the side. I have used a drop or two of silicone based oil once a year or so thru the transfer port and pretty much have done no other maintenance since 1988. The gun seems to be firing as well as ever. My question: would it be best to send it in for new seals and possibly other maintenance before anything goes wrong or should I just wait until I have a problem?
    Thanks to you and Edith for your great work! Paul


    • Paul,

      Welcome to the blog.

      I would just keep on shooting your HW77 until it gives indications of problems. Modern piston seals can last fort many decades. I have some from the 1950s that are still going strong. And I have has leather seals that were over 100 years old that were still working well.

      A 77 is a very rugged airgun — it’s way overbuilt. Your rifle will still be functioning centuries from now if it isn’t abused.

      B.B.


  30. BB,

    Thanks for the prompt response. Based on your advice I felt confident taking the plunge to spend the money I had saved for a rebuild to buy a Diana 350 Magnum which I have long coveted…. .22 of course. I really appreciate the effort you put into your reviews and have made most of my recent purchases based on your expert insights. I bought my first airgun from ARH in ’75 and with the help of you and Pyramyd I’m still going strong with this hobby!

    Paul


    • Paul,

      I think you will find the 350 Magnum to be a rifleman’s rifle. By that I mean that is needs a good artillery hold, but also has a nice trigger and can really be accurate if held lightly. The trigger must be adjusted to the point that it breaks cleanly, and it isn’t a Rekord, but it6 is very nice.

      Please tell us how you find it.

      B.B.


      • BB
        Thanks for the response and advice on the 350 magnum. I only recently read your material on the ‘artillery hold” and can say it has definitely improved my shooting with my spring guns. My FWB 300s was always so accurate, even shooting off hand, that I could never figure out why I wasn’t as good with my other guns. The insight about how springers recoil and how to hold your rifle to compensate was a revelation to me. That said, my HW77 doesn’t recoil terribly but I can definitely see an improvement in my accuracy when held as you suggested. Look forward to experimenting with the technique with the new gun and will most certainly let you know how I find it.

        Paul


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