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Education / Training Where does B.B. get all those marvelous toys?

Where does B.B. get all those marvelous toys?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

    • Airgun shows
    • Lesson 1. Attend airgun shows
    • Lesson 2. Get a Blue Book
    • Lesson 3. Read this blog — and use it!
    • Lesson 4. Recognize when opportunity knocks
    • That’s how it’s done

A tip of the hat to the Joker, who asked today’s title question about Batman. Reader Kevin Wilmeth asked this last week, “Incidentally, I’d love to see an article some day on exactly how you do get access to the guns you do. Somehow I think I’d find that illuminating.”

Kevin — today is the day! I hope you find my report as interesting as you thought it would be.

Airgun shows

When I started out writing about airguns in 1993 — the year before we launched The Airgun Letter — I attended the second airgun show held at Winston Salem, North Carolina. I was an unknown who was trying to promote a newsletter about airguns. The big questions were — who is Tom Gaylord and what does he know about airguns? But that’s for another report. Today we are discussing where I get my airguns.

The show opened my eyes in a major way. I saw airguns I never heard of before, plus those guns I saw in articles but had never seen in person. In that respect, I was a newbie. But they held an auction at the end of the show and people were bidding on guns that had been put up by various dealers. They couldn’t sell these guns and so used the auction as a means of moving them.

One gun that came up was a Hakim trainer. That was an airgun I knew a lot about. I owned 5 of them at the time and had fixed them all, so I knew there wasn’t much about a Hakim that I couldn’t fix. Even if it was missing key parts, I figured my $75 winning bid got me more than I paid for.

Lesson 1. Attend airgun shows

You may know very little about airguns, but you will almost certainly see something at every show that will interest you. Just ask our reader Reb, who has been giving us a running dialog of the guns that came from his huge box purchase at the 2015 Texas airgun show.

I drove about 375 miles to get to Winston Salem and I spent two nights in a motel once I got there. Sure that was an expense, but I needed to promote my newsletter. What I didn’t realize at the time was I was making important contacts and learning about airguns at the same time. I bought my Hy Score 807 (Diana 27) at that show and have written about that gun dozens of times over the past 22 years. That first show really launched me in the airgun world, and I know the same will hold true for you.

Lesson 2. Get a Blue Book

I understand when someone finds an old pellet gun in their grandfather’s closet they don’t necessarily want to become an airgun collector. They just want to know what they have and usually how much it’s worth and where to sell it. But when a person claims to be intersted in airguns and won’t spend the money for a Blue Book of Airguns — that’s false economy!

I hear all kinds of complaints that some of the information in the Blue Book is incorrect and that the prices are either inflated or undervalued. The latter always depends on whether the complainer owns the particular airgun. But none of that matters!

I find professional football boring — to the nth degree. And I played footbal in high school for a short time! But I do watch the Superbowl. I watch it for the commercials like the majority of viewers, but I will admit that the game is also quite interesting. The Blue Book of Airguns is the Superbowl for airgunners. If you can’t get to an airgun show, it’s the next best thing.

Because of the Blue Book I knew about the Benyamin multi-pump gun. So, when one appeared at an airgun show I bought it. I showed it to you in this blog. I also sold that rifle after I was finished looking at it, and the Blue Book helped me there, too.

Lesson 3. Read this blog — and use it!

A lot of people read this blog — way more than comment on it. We have over 27,000 valid readers and that number is growing all the time. Let me tell you how this blog can help you with airguns. There is a search box at the right of the page near the top. If you enter things you are looking for in that box and hit the Go button beneath it, you can search almost 2,800 blogs I have written since 2005.

But if you don’t find it that way, enter your question into the address bar of your favorite search engine and hit enter. Most of my reports at located at the top or very near the top of the airgun subjects. For example, let’s enter Haenel BB gun into a Firefox address bar and see what we get.

When the results come up there are 633,000 results and my report is the 8th one down from the top. Some of those at the very top have paid to be there and can’t be displaced. This will happen for the majority of airgun topics you research.

But today’s report is not about doing research on the internet. It’s about where I get my airguns. A little over a month ago I was asked a question by a blog reader about where to buy a good used 10-meter air pistol. I looked at the Yellow Forum Classified Ads and found nothing, but on the American Airgun Classified Ads I found a nice FWB Modell 2 for sale. I gave the link to the reader who asked for it and got the usual, “Thanks, but I want to look around a while longer.” That really means the person isn’t interested in that gun. But I was. The price was very good, so I made a deal with the owner, Carel, in the Netherlands, and today the gun is in my office.

To do this transaction I had to do three things:

1. Search the internet.
2. Contact the seller and close the deal, and
3. Learn how to send money to the Netherlands.

Oh, yes, there is a number 4, as well. I had to trust the other person, whom I did not know. I’m not telling any of you do do this, but Kevin asked me how I get the guns I test, and this is part of the answer.

Have I ever been fooled by a person when dealing this way? Certainly I have. It goes with the territory. Don’t send your rent money for a deal that’s too good to pass up. But don’t hide under a rock, either. I know some people even have a problem dealing with online stores like Pyramyd AIR, to say nothing of trusting private parties. I can’t change that — nor do I want to. I’m just telling you how I do it.

Are you going to see that FWB target pistol in the future? You can bet on it!

Lesson 4. Recognize when opportunity knocks

When I started out nobody knew who I was and I had to muck around, looking for airgun deals like everyone else. In fact, I still do. But because of what I do, people come to me from time to time. A couple weeks ago a guy I know emailed me about a Haenel model 100 BB pistol. He makes knives and someone was offering the pistol as partial payment for a knife. So he asked me the price.

I used the Blue Book (where have I heard that, before?) to determine a range of prices and then I told him the pistol would be very difficult to sell because most people would not know what it was. But I wanted it for several reasons. It was a gun I could write about several ways in several different publications. And when I was done with it, I could sell it and get my money back.

That’s how it’s done

That, Kevin, is another way I get the guns I write about. I recognize when opportunity is knocking, and I answer the door.

I could go on with more stories, but if you are reader you have already heard most of them.

The Falke 90 — airgun show

The straight grip Webley Senior — gun show

An FWB 124 — pawn shop and pawn shop (yes, there were 2) and an airgun repair shop (he fixed Crosmans and didn’t want springers)

A Gamo XP-68 — an airgun show and another at a pawn shop

In short, I have found numerous ways of finding and getting vintage airguns. I’m always on the watch, and it pays off!

65 thoughts on “Where does B.B. get all those marvelous toys?”

  1. The return of Normal time as opposed to Daylight Saving Time threw me off the blog’s update schedule.

    You forgot to state the obvious one where airguns are sent to you for your honest evaluation.

  2. I really wanted to see a FWB 300s at the show and kept looking, that’s why I pulled the QB-88 outta that barrel and I’m really glad it worked out so well.
    It ain’t no 300 but it’s a sweet shooter and it was left cocked for who knows how long so I expect spring failure any time but no buzzing and it’s back up to about 650fps after a couple seal soaks overnight with no objection and I got plenty of stuff to work on once it gets too cold outside.

  3. Thanks, B.B. Fascinating, certainly. I have certainly been known to comb back issues with the search function, and have learned a great deal that way. You really do have a marvelous resource here. 🙂

  4. Thank you! I was trying to purchase that FWB! I’ve spent some time in Indochina! Those people and Fred LeFever would have had much in common! Those people make many many different things from (our) waste of others!! Semper fi!

  5. Step one before attending should be save, I’m sure glad I finally made it o one but more money would have broadened my options and I had almost $1000 before the trip started but I did get a big bang outta that $100 I had going in the door.

  6. It does not necessarily take a thick wallet to have a great time at an airgun show. Lloyd and I went to Hickory and Lloyd did some trading and did right well.

    I saw some great deals, but did not buy anything. I could have walked out of there with a Diana from the 20s for about forty dollars, but passed on it.

  7. BB, great article always very informative. I have an off topic question, can a box stock Marauder .177 be very competitive in benchrest shooting? I shoot mostly springers but was thinking that a pcp would be better. I did try my Marksman 70, with rekord trigger, at 25 and 50 yards outside and did pretty well. Groups at 25 -1/2″ 5 shot and 50 – 7/8″ 5 shot. Thanks, Scott

  8. B.B.,

    Why are there so few shows in the summer? I’m a college professor, so the school year is pretty much out of the question for me, but I’d drive far if the show were large and in the summer.

    Also, I have twice bought serious target airguns from Carel in The Netherlands, and he’s good to work with, which leads me to this advice for airgunners: if you’re interested in vintage European airguns, get to know an airgun broker or two in Europe. They come across models of vintage airguns constantly, and they can buy them cheaply enough so by the time they’ve sold it to you, they have made a profit, and it was still a reasonable price for you.


    • Michael,

      All the airgun shows are put on by hobby promoters who have lives, too. They want their summers free, plus there is the general belief that most families will not travel to an airgun show in the summer.

      Here in Texas, it’s just too hot.


      • B.B.,

        Alas, there is no joy in Michaelville. I still do enjoy them vicariously by reading your reports on them and the comments of other readers who also attended. Those are always real treats for me.

        Of course there are gun shows all over all the time that I could go to, but how many air guns actually make it to powder-burner gun shows?


  9. Great article BB. At both gun/airgun shows the real deals often walk in the door. An example would be the Walther LGM-2 rifles that came to our local gun show last spring. I jumped on one of those for sure. Last Saturday I bought a 70’s vintage Ithaca 37 20 ga. in near new condition that way! It was about $100.00 under value. You have to love that!


  10. It’s very hard for me to trust classifieds after having answered an ad,seen an apartment did all the right things and had first and last stolen. I imagine what somebody im never meeting could pull. When I see established sellers I think ill be the one they hock the broken thing they couldn’t sell, its just this once… I just got the pyramyd catalog in though, on another note 😉 if somebody regularly on here was selling what im looking for I would trust it, that goes without saying.

      • I havent seen any shows in New England, im gonna have to check out whats coming close. Lot of marauders in the classifieds but they arent any cheaper then new from what ive seen but havent delved deep enough since the funds arent secured yet anyway.

        • Gotta get the savings up to snuff before you can do much and yo may have to drive a little ways but I saw stuff I never would’ve even thought to look up and met a few people I’ll be doing business with later.

        • I haven’t posted here in a while but if you’re interested in a marauder I have one for sale, with or without the scope. I haven’t posted in on a classified yet but you can email me, heebyjeeby_1 at hotmail dot com. I’m in mass btw so shipping may not be an issue and you could even give the gun a run through before purchase.

          • I just sent him a email letting him know I wasn’t trying to swooping in on the deal but I’d be interested in a description and may be interested in it if he weren’t.
            Tell us more. 🙂

            • It is a well used Synthetic Marauder in .177 I bought it new over a year and a half ago(feb/april of 2014). The pressure gauge was replaced with a factory new one as the original was defective. It now reads true to my hill pump and scuba fill tank gauge. The stock is a bit beat up with scratches ect. so I’m not looking for top dollar. It also has a sling. I haven’t used it in almost a year as I bought an Air Arms S500 and would like to see it go to someone who will use it.

              I’m not gonna put a price here and hope this doesn’t get removed as I’m not here trying to sell it. I simply saw that RDNA was looking for one and I wouldn’t mind helping him out if he’s interested.

              Also it currently sports a hawke endurance 6-24×50 mildot scope.

              • Thanks for the information! I’ll see what RDNA does but I think he’s more interested in the AF guns.
                I was trying to steer him toward something more affordable like the Benjamin’s. I appreciate your candor and courtesy!
                Thanks John!

              • I sent am email, im looking for a 25 or at least 22 but if the price is right I could just get the barrel and switch it so disregard the no 177 part. We’ll talk. And reb ill be happy to put you right on and will let you know what happens asap.

                • I don’t think it’s gonna be as simple as a barrel swap to get to .25, someone else wrote about a similar project recently but I can’t recall who.
                  I’d be more interested if it weren’t .177 myself but there’s a Buncha pellets to choose from in that caliber.

                  • Yeah, might not go bigger but it’ll be a good start to doing some quality shootin finally, and with 17 I can do the squirrllls and sparrows round the backyard, cant do that with an escape, eventually get the UL for chucks and long shot squirrels going out and the rodder can target and little pestys. We’ll see!

  11. I would have guessed that the source of B.B.’s guns is PA and the various shows. Gun writers must be subject to great temptation. I understand the procedure is to send the gun to them for evaluation, and they have an option to pay to keep it. It’s hard enough to resist temptation in a catalog. Having the gun in hand would put one over the edge.

    Gunfun1, right you are about the laser and reflective surfaces. There are actually quite a few of them. I suppose this is just an occupational hazard of people who use these for real. Sort of like the effects of shooting without hearing protection.


  12. Here’s another way to get neat stuff – my wife’s best friend’s father passed away last year and while finally cleaning out his things, she came across some airguns. Since I’m the only one she knows that’s into airguns, I got the call. I now possess one BAM B-3 and this one shoots pretty darn good, a Crosman 880, a Sheridan Blue Streak from Racine, WI factory but it doesn’t pump and one unknown Chinese air pistol that needs help. From 10′ away, it won’t penetrate a cardboard box and shoots real low – obviously low on velocity. I haven’t chrony-ed it yet. I have the Sheridan apart but need to either make the tool or purchase it with the kit from Pyramyd AIR to get the valve out and re-seal it.

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • Get the kit! Believe me you don’t wanna booger up that packing nut. It’s not cheap but makes it pretty easy to get one apart. I’m gonna need another seal kit but already have the tools. If I can’t get the kit without the tool I’ll send you one, don’t try it without one.

      • Thanks for that input, Reb. I’ll order the kit tonight – don’t worry about sending me anything. But I certainly appreciate the offer!

        Fred of the Demokratik Peoples’ Republik of New Jersey

        • My 3120 was pretty tight and the tool is still in it but I used the exhaust valve to get my 392 back up and it seemed to have more seal surface contact. I don’t think they’re interchangeable due to that but it worked on my 392.
          Good Luck on your projects!

    • Fred,

      I’ve always first tried to just drench the pump head seal with pellgun oil, let it sit for a day, add more pellgun oil, and then try to pump it really fast to see if it starts to hold. Sometimes I’ve had to pump the arm really fast for 20-30 times before it started to provide some resistance. Then seven more pumps, and if it holds, you’re good to go!


    • I try to let as many people know that I enjoy airguns(without looking like a freak!) as possible so I can see as many as possible. And they generally come up with something if they want one or find one. Fixed a few and mangled one and converted a few over.

  13. Well,I got my 6′ table set up in my dining room and it very well could pull triple duty 1-work bench, 2 dinner table for 6 and sellers table.
    It oughtta fit around 15-20 longarms

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