How and why airguns change over time

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • They don’t make ‘em like they used to
  • Are today’s airguns better?
  • 1. Technology — back then
  • Technology — now
  • 2. Understanding the principles — back then
  • Understanding the principles — now
  • 3. Company staff and leadership — back then
  • Company staff and leadership — now
  • 4. Market trends — then and now
  • Summary

Happy New Year! May 2016 be a good year for all of us.

They don’t make ‘em like they used to

Ain’t that the truth? Nothing is the same anymore. Usually when people discuss this subject they only remember the good things from the past. Things like the heavy metal Detroit muscle cars that had huge engines. They forget that those engines had to be tuned up every 10K miles, or that they often leaked oil.

As far as airguns go people remember blued steel and walnut stocks. They remember airguns that were made like firearms, and they both looked and felt like it. But a lot of facts are edited out.

Before 1970, an airgun that could achieve 800 feet per second (f.p.s.) velocity was considered a magnum. Today, the same gun would be a youth model, or at best an adult plinker. Today’s airguns top 1,000 f.p.s. regularly. The fastest exceed 1,400 f.p.s.

Prior to 1990, 50 yards was considered the maximum distance an airgun could shoot with accuracy, and even then it could not keep 10 shots in a group of less than about two inches. Today there are airguns that will put 10 pellets in 3/8 inch at 50 yards and less than one inch at 100 yards. Airgunners today are shooting to 200, 300 and even 400 yards.

BSF S54
BSF S54 underlever was a fine air rifle for the 1950s. But it tops out at 725 f.p.s. in .177 caliber and it isn’t that accurate.

Are today’s airguns better?

What made all of this possible are both the modern airgun powerplants and the pellets they shoot. We have powerplants today that eclipse the best guns of 50 years ago, and today’s pellets will make even the old guns more accurate — to say nothing of what they will do in a modern platform.

The traditionalist insists that a modern airgun is no good because its metal is matte black or even painted. Today’s stocks are either made from nondescript hardwood with no grain or worse — they are synthetic. Compare that to the best guns of the past and of course the modern guns suffer.

So, who is right? Are today’s airguns better, or have we passed right through the Golden Age on our way to tracer burnout? And what drives change? That’s what I want to talk about today.

I will present several factors that influence change. These are listed in no particular order and their significance increases or decreases as circumstances change.

1. Technology — back then

The first change driver is technology. Airguns of the past were made on manual production machinery like lathes and mills. They had to be designed to suit that machinery.

Tolerances were held as close as possible without spending too much time so costs didn’t rise too high. Labor was cheap in comparison to the large capital expenditures needed for production machinery. Therefore the time spent on the machines was the biggest cost. And the time it took to set up those machines to run a job was time when they weren’t producing, so designers took that into account.

The results were designs that changed very little over the years. Airguns shared parts to a large extent. But because the machines that made those parts often left rough surfaces with tool marks, a lot more hand finishing had to be done.

The tolerances held by the machines tended to change over time as their cutting tools wore out. Some hand fitting was necessary to assemble the guns. The person doing the assembly was also helping check for finish flaws, which improved the final result.

Both wood and steel finishes have evolved greatly with time. In the past, bluing, which usually meant applying a process called black oxide, was the number one way to finish steel. This finish was thin, tough and tended to show any marks that were left on the metal, so more hand finishing was done to correct it.

Wood finishes of the past were those that had existed for hundreds of years. They were oil-based and soaked into the wood grain where they achieved good depth.

Technology — now

Today we have single machines that can do many times more machining jobs on a part than in the past. They are driven by computers, so changing the design during production doesn’t impact the schedule like it once did. Software does the changing and once the tools are loaded and the system is checked, the machines take over. These same machines can change their tooling automatically when they detect wear, so the tolerances they maintain from part to part are much closer than in the past. Far less hand fitting is required during assembly. In fact less human involvement of any kind is necessary.

Hand finishing is becoming a thing of the past. The tools of today leave smoother finishes than in the past and automated finishing processes take over from there. Of course the mirror finish on steel is no longer achieved, but the material is often a metal other than steel anyway. And the finishes that are applied are in-step with the rest of the manufacturing processes.

Modern manufacturers uses materials like aluminum and engineering plastics in applications where they are best suited. Many times shooters complain, but if they look at law enforcement and military firearms, they have been moving in the same direction for decades. This is a fact of life in the 21st century. It’s always possible to get a job done by hand using the classic materials but the price is steep. Little red wagons are not often made of steel anymore!

Diana 34P
German Diana 34P is a best-selling modern spring rifle. The metal is matte and the stock is synthetic, and it will put 10 pellets into one inch at 50 yards.

Molybdenum disulfide, or moly for short, is a high-tech lubricant that reduces friction and adheres to the material it’s applied to. It has been the lubricant of choice for custom tuners for decades. Now we are starting to see manufacturers use it on their new guns.

Wood finishes are now sprayed on to form a tough topical coating. Or they are applied by a process of dipping the stock into a tank where they adhere to the surface. Either way, they are topical, only.

O-rings have been used to seal CO2 guns since they were first introduced in the 1940s, but in the past they were soft and absorbed gas. Today we see manufacturers looking at more advanced materials for their dynamic seals like o-rings. Things like durometer ratings of o-rings and other seal materials that were once just a specification are now being applied to make modern gas guns virtually leak-proof.

2. Understanding the principles — back then

As time has passed, our understanding of how airguns work has grown. In the past manufacturers were content just to get airguns to work. Guns that didn’t leak when fired and guns that were both safe and reliable were the goal. Velocity and accuracy were secondary in those days. Maybe people didn’t think that way, but in retrospect we see that is what happened.

Understanding the principles — now

Today we know much more about what makes an airgun work well than ever before. We know that a piston with a long stroke will generate greater power than one that is shorter. We understand that the tightness of fit at the breech of a breakbarrel spring rifle is paramount to accuracy, just as a free-floated barrel works best in a pneumatic. We understand that the fit of the piston seal to the compression chamber and the size and length of the air transfer port have a huge impact on how an airgun performs. And that is just the beginning.

We now know how to remove almost all of the wasteful vibration of a spring gun powerplant — turning it into more power with a smoother shot cycle as a benefit. Twenty years ago things like tight-fitting spring guides and buttoned pistons were the bread and butter of custom tuners, but today we see them being built right into the airguns at the factory! What’s more — modern manufacturers are using advanced materials to enhance the products they make.

USFT Innovation
The USFT rifle is made in low numbers by Mac-1 Airguns. It takes a 1650 psi fill and gets 55 powerful shots that will all hit a quarter at 50 yards. This rifle breaks new ground in several pneumatic principles.

And pneumatic guns are taking off like a rocket — pardon the pun! Things as simple as barrel length are now understood to boost power in guns with no additional investment or changes. Valve timing, de-bounce devices (to let the valve stay closed when the gun fires) and balanced striker springs to lower fill pressures are all advancing the world of the pneumatic airgun faster than anything else. Yes, technology has advanced the modern airgun greatly.

3. Company staff and leadership — back then

In the past airgun companies had workers who spent their entire lives in the same job. They were managed by leadership that emerged from the same workforce. To say the people in such companies lived and breathed airguns is not an exaggeration.

Company staff and leadership — now

Today’s companies are often managed by professional businessmen and -women. They understand the financial side of the operation quite well, but often they are not shooters and do not understand nor use the products they make. Consequently business decisions are made using only the information they do understand — creating a company that’s run by a spreadsheet.

Workers are hired for their age and their wage requirements. They are then trained in-house by the workers who were previously hired and trained in the same fashion. In time this becomes a workforce of the blind leading the blind.

Boards of directors are also just interested in the bottom line — not in the future health of the company, so they press for and often get short-term solutions. Imagine a cheesemaker who doesn’t actually make cheese, but buys it from another source. From time to time they slice a thin sliver off the top of an existing block to expose the fresh cheese underneath. At some point there won’t be any more cheese to slice — to say nothing about creating cheeses that haven’t been in their inventory in the past.

A few airgun companies are staffed with people who actually do understand and appreciate airguns. They tend to be the younger companies, although under the right leadership any company can thrive. These are the companies that bring the lion’s share of innovations to market.

4. Market trends — then and now

You might think that the consumer dictates what comes to market, and if we were talking about cars, movies or television programs you’d be right. But the airgun market is such a narrow niche, even within the shooting sports, that the customers are often the last people to be heard. Fortunately there is a strong base of boutique airgun makers at the grassroots level who turn out the guns and products they know serious airgunners want.

Smart companies spend time on the chat forums, looking at what’s being discussed by active airgunners. But the chat forums are home to less than one percent of all the airgun buyers.

Most airgun buyers know little or nothing about the airguns they buy. Sometimes they know less than nothing, because what they think they know is wrong. These are the customers for whom the major manufactures are producing.

You will notice I’m discussing this topic all together — no past and present. That’s because little has changed in the world of airgun consumers and marketing over the past 100 years. Accuracy that once ruled has been displaced by velocity as the primary sales feature, but that is because of the low cost of a chronograph. And the paramilitary look is in, not because buyers want it as much as because it’s one of the few things a modern staffer with no shooting experience can appreciate. If it looks like a gun to them, they reason, it must be right. And most of the time, they are right, because buyers often know as little about guns as the staff members.

Summary

I have told you a lot about how and why modern airguns got to be the way that they are. In several cases I haven’t suggested what can be done about it. That’s because this is a hard market to understand and an even harder one to crack. But at least now you have some insight into why “they” don’t always do the things you think they should.

82 thoughts on “How and why airguns change over time





      • B.B., I agree with the points and spark plug (but maybe not the leaks). My Olds with a 350 Rocket seemed to eat points and plugs. Now don’t get me wrong, you didn’t have to replace them that often just to cruise around, but if you “got on it” a lot and wanted performance, you had to replace them a lot. Oh and lets not forget the carb. Today’s Electronic Fuel Injection (all forms) is light years a head. I haven’t forgotten the days of the carb. Cold weather starting, chock problems, adj jets and so on. And oil to cars is kind of like pellets to air guns in the fact that they came so far. Today’s oils are very very good. Group II all the way to Group IV base oils vs the old Group I base oils of yesterday. And I remember yesterdays cars all smoking a lot. You just don’t see much of that today.


      • BB
        I had a 69 dart with a 440 4 spd. It never leaked and ok on the points here and there.

        But once I got the right heat range plugs in it and put different jets in the carb it ran great for a long time without needing touched.


      • Muscle cars and other desirable automobiles of the past have been romanticized by time and the mutable nature of human memory. Muscle cars represent speed, power, sexy lines, and the exhilaration one experiences driving them, as well as the zenith of America’s manufactuiring dominance in the world. And the quality of materials was excellent. But mostly the reverence we have for 1960s and 70s muscle cars is based on their speed, looks, and our own “Golden Agers Syndrome.”

        But consider how many cars in the northern part of the country started to rust away after just a few years on the road (hence the term “rust belt” for cold weather states). I had a 1970 Maverick that died when it’s frame rusted through in 1987!

        Rust aside, in the 1970s and earlier, if one got 100K miles out of a car, that was considered good. Today if one gets 200K miles out of a car, that is considered good.

        The guys who teach automotive mechanics at the college where I teach collect muscle cars and love them, but they will readily argue that today’s cars are far better (more efficient, safer, more user-friendly, and longer lasting) than were cars of the 1980s and earlier.

        The good ol’ days were genuinely good in many ways, but much of that goodness exists only in our memories of them.

        Michael


        • Michael
          You know what’s funny is some of them rusted and some didn’t.

          I live in the Midwest and they are natourious for using salt and liquid chemicals when it snowed and such.

          I have had over 40 muscle cars throughout time. Some ran good some didn’t same with the rust. Some did some didn’t. And some more than others.

          But I will say this the guys back in the day racing those cars and hopping them up. Along with the automobile manufacturers and even the aftermarket manufacturers. Had alot to do with why the cars do run as good as they do and last as long as they do now days.

          Again think about air guns. What they were and what they are. Somethings are good as designed and other things have gotten better and changed from what they were.

          Like I said it’s a evolution.


  1. BB
    You wrote about alot for today’s blog.

    You know what it’s called. “evolution”. Things will always change. Some will think they made a change for the better some will hate the change.

    But the thing about it we have the things in the past to learn from and the things that have happened throughout our time.

    Then there will be more things acheived as time goes on.

    Hopefully the right people will grab the opportunity’s to make at least our air gunning world better.

    But remember one important thing. Machines can only do what people make them do. We have to have the knowledge to make them produce what we want. Then have people willing to make quality products.

    To easy to fail. Very hard to be successful.


  2. Yes, we tend to remember the good and bad, but forget the not so good.

    There is a gentleman on the forums who is pushing the boundaries of airguns, he is using a modified Airforce condor, launching .257 caliber projectiles at about 1000 fps.
    And hitting targets out to 1065 yards..so far…


    • I believe I ran across one of his videos recently. Unfortunately he does not inform us of how big his target is.

      On the Talon Airgun Forum, they used to have a competition called the Pepsi Challenge. The idea was to see how far away you could hit an unopened Pepsi. I watched the distances slowly increase to about 400 yards until one day a gentleman posted a video of his attempt.

      Using a .257 Scandalous air rifle, he took two ranging shots and then fired a score shot and hit the Pepsi can at 614 yards. I think he won.




    • I agree. When you hit 100K, usually they started using some oil. I’m not saying people didn’t get more miles than that. But that was usually the rule. Today lots of cars go over 300K with much much less work to do so.


    • Hmm my dad had a 70 Pontiac Catalina he bought brand new. Had the 400/4 bl. engine and turbo 400 tranny. He changed the oil in it regularly and maintained it regularly.

      It had close to 400,000 miles on it. The only thing he ever did inside the engine was replace the timing gear with a all metal gear. They put nylon covered top gears in the engines. They did it to quiet down the chain noise. But all it did was get old and crack and the nylon would come of the teeth.

      But that car looked brand new and all the electric windows and seats and A/C worked in it. Until it got hit in the side and totteled it.

      Oh and even when it had all those miles on it only smoked a little when he started it. It was probably time for new valve seals.

      Of course nowdays the cars are better designed engine wise anyway. But some of the stuff they do has its problems also.


      • The person who hit that pontiac had better of ran for his life! Lol. My father had a 69′ custom sport banana yellow and black top. Wicked. Love the Pontiac front ends, and that one had a mean mug.


        • RDNA
          You know that is something else. The mean mug thing. Back then the cars had character.

          I just love the way the 70-73 Camaro’s look from the front. It’s like two big eyes looking at you with a mouth wide open screaming I got you… you pesky little Road Runner. 🙂


  3. Happy New Year BB. A great blog to kick off 2016. Being of the older generation my most enjoyment continues to come from low powered springers. For me, my latest addition, a low power Gamo G-Challenger hits the mark very nicely – both in terms of my pocket and accuracy.


  4. The nice thing with modern communications is that you can reach out to the once isolated airgunners not only in your neighborhood but even those halfway around the World. These forums and blogs become a collection of knowledge that then can be researched and used for the betterment of how one uses an airgun, how one cares for an airgun and what to look for in an airgun. Unfortunately not everyone is willing to put in the time to do the necessary research and simply trust what their peers can tell them. Anyway as some have said once it’s on the internet it’s there forever.

    Happy New Year!


  5. BB and Fellow Airgunners
    A big Happy New Year to you BB, and to all the readers of his blog. I enjoyed this last blog of 2015, because it brought into focus how much airguns have developed, and why. I lived through the height of the muscle car craze. The tolerances accepted in the mass production of “hot” motors and transmissions would be unacceptable for today’s consumer. About the only maintenance on today’s vehicles is to change the oil regularly. I know of no young car owner today who has a home made valve grinder made from sawing off a broom handle. Or has had to adjust the valves in a motor every 5000 miles (solid lifters). Back in the 60’s, I would average 4-5 flat tires a year. Today I have almost forgotten where the tire jack is in my truck. It’s called progress.
    We look on the past with nostalgia, remembering the good parts, while conveniently forgetting the drawbacks we were forced to tolerate. This goes for airguns, vehicles, and the myriad of products we consume today. This doesn’t account for built-in obsolescence. For example, I just changed a plastic gear in my garage door opener the other day. The old one, made from plastic, had all the teeth ground off from 10 years use. It was only a 20 minute job, but how many people would have just bought a brand new one? The gear was supposed to wear out after 10-15 years. Youtube has dozens of videos showing how to repair this one gear.
    I hope 2016 will be the year we all get that “certain” airgun we have been eying for so long. My dream gun would be the new Feinwerkbau break barrel springer. However at a sticker price of just under one thousand dollars, I may need to be satisfied with dreaming about it.
    Ciao
    Titus


    • Titus,

      You remember things the way I do! What about batteries that lasted 2 years at the most?

      And how about those Acadian Invaders, speaking of muscle cars. I will never forget driving into Canada in 1968 and seeing cars I thought I know with different badge names on them. What culture shock!

      B.B.


      • BB
        The 68 442 I was talking about was a Canadian biult car. It got a 455 because the laws were different up there. Down here in the USA a 400 was the biggest engine you could get in that model in 68. Plus its a bench seat 4spd car. The seat has a place that is made in it so the shifter handle won’t hit the seat.

        That 68 442 is worth alot of money right now. Hind sight right. If I could only of had them stored away till today.

        Maybe just like some air guns you know.


    • Titus
      The solid lifters were a pain at first. But by time the 70’s rolled around the aftermarket was making polylocks instead of the nuts. It was basically a nut with a set screw in the top. So you adjusted your valves then tightened the set screw. They stayed set after that.

      Just like air guns today. There were little tricks you could do the muscle cars back then and if you knew what you had to do they would actually last along time.

      My buddy still has the 68 442 I sold him back in the early 80’s. I rebiult the engine and the Muncie 4spd before I sold it to him. It still runs high 11’s at the track to this day. And no leaks and no smoke.

      He don’t drive it every day other than to some cruises. But he has dragraced it every weekend during the summer months for all these years.

      So I have to disagree about them not lasting. It’s how they were biult and maintained.

      I remember seeing the same car basically that another buddy of mine had back in the day. His car ran the its butt off. But the other car that was the same as his was smoking and leaking and could no way keep in with my buddies car.

      Seen the samething with air guns too. Makes you wonder why.


      • GF1,

        Never got to do the hot rods. Just as well, I may not be writing this if I did. When I got the recent Rav4, I looked at the Callengers. Weather and snow being what it is, I told the salesman to put the Challenger body on a 4WD truck chassis,…..and he has got a sale!!!! He was not quite sure what to make of that.

        I have seen a Caddy, a Hearse and a Mercedes 450 SEL all 4WD. That would be fun to play with stuff like that. Oh yea, 4WD vans back in the day. Always liked the vans. Short Chevy.


        • Chris USA
          Get you a Subaru Impreza WRX. Their all wheel drive and turbo charged. The STI is over 300 horsepower.

          Bet that would keep you excited for a while in the snow.


  6. The nice thing with modern communications is that you can reach out to the once isolated airgunners not only in your neighborhood but even those halfway around the World. These forums and blogs become a collection of knowledge that then can be researched and used for the betterment of how one uses an airgun, how one cares for an airgun and what to look for in an airgun. Unfortunately not everyone is willing to put in the time to do the necessary research and simply trust what their peers can tell them. Anyway as some have said once it’s on the internet it’s there forever.

    May these improvements continue.


  7. They are the best of times, they are the worst of times.

    With the knowledge that is available today and modern technology, it is possible to make the finest air rifles the world has ever known. Unfortunately, the major U.S. air rifle manufacturer is not one of them. As you pointed out, they are more concerned with production numbers than what they are producing. Their customers are not the airgun community. Their customers are the purchasing agents of the large chain retailers.

    The real shame of it is this very company has helped advance the knowledge of modern airgun technology greatly in the not too distant past. An example is the NP2. I have looked at that powerplant with a lustful aching in my heart. Unfortunately the rest of the air rifle around it is designed for mass production and an attempt to make it look like a Mattelomatic. They did finally come out with versions that have some pretty nice stocks, but the guts are the same.

    Another is the Marauder. They have created a PCP air rifle that is truly awesome, most especially in the low price range. I had the opportunity to shoot a .22 SynRod this past year. Nice. I also looked at the wood stock version at the Hickory show. That thing is UUUUGLY!

    They have the opportunity to take a very fine air rifle and create an air rifle that not only performs at well as most of the finest European air rifles, but look as nice also. What do they do? They bolt a bunch of overpriced Mattelomatic parts on it and hail to the world what a wonderful, new air rifle they have created. Give me a break.


  8. Happy new year one and all. I must admit that for most of my life with airguns it took a long, long time to learn small but useful bits of advice and information. But thanks to blogs and forums i have , just in the last three years alone, increased my knowledge unbelievably. In fact it was this blog that kick started my hunt for airgun based knowledge, so a big thank you to you Mr Gaylord.

    I even write my own blog using what I’ve learned and put to practical use, so i can help others just as others have helped me. It’s cool to find and buy an old BSA mercury, it’s even cooler to find three separate blog or forum threads that show you how to make it look as good as new and shoot better than it did when it came from the factory, let alone the condition you bought it in.

    I really couldn’t afford to buy a new Air Arms or Walther springer, and these are the companies that take the proven ideas and put them into excellent mass produced products. So i take the next best option and buy older 2nd hand and work on them myself, they all tend to end up a little better but now and then i end up with a little gem of an air rifle.

    Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington Smythe.



  9. Great first article for the New Year. A nice reminder as to how far we have come and how we got here. Also, a good dose of perspective and to try and remember it. It is easy to get side tracked and lost and confused with all the offerings out there. Thankfully we have this great resource, and B.B., to help us sort it all out.

    Happy New Year’s to all and may it bring many good things your way,….Chris


  10. Hi B.B. & all,
    Wish you a very Happy New Year with a lot of good things happening and plenty of good shooting. Maybe some thing new for us Airgunners? B.B. great article Sir! Super reading for the beginning of the year & how true your words are. My friend just bought the Hatsan bt65 SB elite & what a fantastic gun in terms of build quality, power & outstanding accuracy with just the open sights. Now I understand why a well made PCP is so much better. There were just two guns left at the dealer, so he took a snap decision to buy as it may not be imported again due to some new govt regulations on the way. But if you buy it before the reg, you are covered. Since he is down on vacation for Christmas, & won’t be back for an year or more,I get to keep it along with the Striker & 125! BTW the BT 65 is stamped made in Turkey! I will be buying the PCP from him soon. Also could you please tell me if a low scope mount is better than a high one since its more in line with the bore. I ask this as the Striker is fitted with a low mount & its zeroed at 25 yds but I can shoot a bird in the head at 43 yards aiming dead on as its very flat shooting. But the 125 has a SEBEN German high mount & also zeroed for 25 yds but I have to make allowance beyond 35 yds & shoot a full 2 inches over the aim point less than 25yds. But its less than an inch over the aim point with the Striker at less than 25 yds
    Whew! That was long! Thanks in advance.
    Errol




        • Since you dont need to worry about the scope getting in the way of anything (deciding your mount height based on a breech or clip) I would suggest choosing your mount based soley on stability and fit. The 125 has some good recoil, and fighting with scope rings to stay put is one if the major issues for springers accuracy and in turn enjoyment. If the lower one locks in like a glove, use it, higher one does, use it, the difference in height will not be worth the difference in accuracy if one works better then another. Just my two cents.


          • Rifled DNA22,
            Thanks so much for the info. The mount on the 125 is a one piece unit for stability & its rock solid in spite of the heavy recoil, the Striker has the two ring mount that came with the Nikko Stirling scope. But since the one on the 125 is a high mount & also the 11mm rail on the gun is also quite high seated on top of the Weaver rail its too high for comfort & requires a huge 2 inch holdover below & beyond zeroed range. My mistake, so I’ve ordered a low one piece mount to see how it works!
            Errol



  11. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL !!!
    Thanks,again, BB. As always, you have found a way to stimulate great conversation about the world of airgunning. About muscle cars- I ordered a new Hemi Barracuda ( 1969 ) from the factory all set for the drag strip. A 426 Hemi, 4 speed trany, and Purple paint with gold metalflakes ! Hot machine was good for hot chicks !
    Airguns- I wish I had gotten in years earlier but now I am in with both feet ! Thanks to all of you that participate in this blog as it has provided me with a ton of valuable information.
    A happy and prosperous New Year to all!
    Bruce


  12. B.B.,

    I just ordered your book while putting in a PA order. I looked at the reviews. Our very own RDNA did some illustrations? You, nor did he, mentioned that, not that I caught anyways.. I look forward to getting it.

    As for the Dan Wesson pellet revolver series, I have decided not to get one. Still, I look forward to what the latest 715 series will do. I really wanted one. They appear to have some progress to make. Besides some more power, and keep the rear load shells, a grip laser would be the cat’s meow,…I looked at firearm hand gun grip lasers,…ouch$. The Gamo was a close second, but the under sized rails. Oh well. The open sights just do not work for me.

    Ending on that note, thank you for doing all that you do and giving us accurate information on which we make an accurate and informed decision,….Thank You.


    • Chris USA
      I remember back when BB was talking about writing that book. And remember RDNA taking on the drawing part of the book.

      But I don’t remember how long ago that was. And RDNA did mention something about that after the book finally got published and BB said they were available. I know that was fairly recent.

      And just wondering have you ever tryed a red dot sight. That’s what I got to use because of my eye’s instead of open sights. If you get a good one their nice to use.

      I got a Tasco pro I think it is and its got 11 brightness settings. But I had it on many guns all the way back to my first Benjamin Discovery about 6 or so years ago. Now it’s on my Tech Force M8. They work pretty good. I am honk anyway.


      • GF1,

        I got to try one and liked it pretty well. It would look just too goofy on a revolver. I could see it on an open sight rifle though. The Red Ryder is the same but not as bad as the 92FS. Odd as it is, the 499 with peep and globe is perfect. Same principle really, but ohhh the difference. Any optometrist out there that want to chime in to explain that?

        The 92Fs laser is good inside but not outside. I have noticed different ratings. You and someone else mentioned how they have seemed to get weaker from the older ones. “Thanks to the idiots pointing them at airplanes”!!!! ( No one here, by the way).


        • Yeah, it was a little over a year ago we worked together to get the drawings done, I am humble about it as I think I can be, im just proud to have them, and my name, in a Tom Gaylord written book! I can only say I did do my best and hope it added to the enjoyment of the story.



  13. GF1,

    That looks close to what I tried. I would try one on an open sight rifle. Thanks.

    By the way, Amazon wanted 20$ for an 1050 tub of Avanti bb’s. PA has them for 6$. Not sure what is up there, but I had a couple of gift cards to use up. Not so sure I care for that site. Not much of an online shopper but I will say, of all I have visited, PA got it right, all the way, 100%. Very, very easy to use and navigate and hop around. Hat’s off to the designer of the PA site.


  14. But the airgun market is such a narrow niche, even within the shooting sports, that the customers are often the last people to be heard. — I thought to myself, with the market so small, and probably about 25% making up legitimate airgunners (not just a random purchase, fly by night, or immature user- though any one of these can turn into dedicated airgunning, the initial purchases are in ignorance- like you said) its no wonder that 75% of the market is aimed at those buyers. The thing about it is when a company makes a product geared toward the 25% , they should leave the rest out of it completely. There are good products out there that satisfy one market or the other, but like Ridgerunner said above, you wont make a product that the 25 wont pick apart if you keep any of the allowances found in lesser models, ie, plastic trigger, excessive rails and not tactfully used plastics, no, not tactically, tactfully, lol. boosted velocity claims, dim, flimsy or lacking positivity in adjustment fiber optic sights, lacking open sights all together where not appropriate, to name a few common complaints. If your going for the serious market then go for it, talk to them, and dont allow your bottom tier marketing strategies to creep in. The marauder was a HUGE step for crosman, the armada shows they are still on the same game plan. They should have left the marauder after mk2 and made a whole different model gun with shorter length, adjustable stock built in in the same calibers that will sell over and over, instead of the limited use bulldog and the new dress armada. Skip the armada and go with making the bulldog in all 4 caliber and the best it can be. The only thing they should’ve done in the black gun market is make the M4-177 and MTR77 np both available in 22 caliber. Theyd sell a thousand to one of those to the armada and packing the mrod into the bulldog would sell 10000 to one of the bulldog standing alone in 357.



    • RDNA,

      You have got it! The Marauder was a huge leap for Crosman. And they would never have taken it if they hadn’t done the Discovery first. The Discovery taught them how to build PCPs and also demonstrated that there was a market for Crosman-built PCPs. It also prepared the market for the Marauder.

      That is what is known as a long-term strategy, and it is a very simple one, at that. But it opened the eyes of Crosman management to the things that were possible and how to go about doing them!

      That’s the kind of thinking that I was referring to in the report.

      B.B.


      • There’s also another thing to think about, the marauder being what it is and such a great gun for the price, if crosman continues to make quality pcps under 500$ then it may adjust the entire market, not the really high end stuff, but after awhile even them. If it keeps coming like it has then other companies will be pushed to lower their prices, which is good and bad if quality drops off to compensate. I think it’ll be another 5 years, but things like the marauder and similar will stabilize at about 349$, (hopefully) and things like the evanixs and fxs will be closer to 800 as standard. Tx200s and np2s at 189.99 and 86.99, 🙂 there will be a few more innovations to look forward to, though, but not so many more that the price range wont be settling down soon enough, I believe.


        • RDNA
          I think your pushing it a bit for the prices to come down that much. It would be nice though.

          And I’m thinking they have a different thought process about how they make and price the guns you just mentioned. The Tx and FX and the German guns. If anything I see the prices staying where they are on them guns. If not going higher in cost in the future.


          • I almost mentioned my own counter argument that proves things your thoughts way, inflation and cost of living. Historically things are new and hot on the market, then the prices would settle, but that was in a time where the products would lower in price faster then inflation would rise. My thought is also geared toward the disposable era thinking, which, though does apply to the lower end guns and revolving door of springers, does not apply to the top quality or high reputation germen steels. I try not to succumb to it, but the disposable technology age did mature in the same timeframe as my self, and have habituated the practice of “what a couple weeks for the price to come down”, and have not until recently started trying to think about what I’ll still want to own next year, or ten years from now. High hopes, though, that the nice guns we lust after will suddenly be half price!


  15. I have a question to anybody that might know, ok, so you can order replacement barrels for mrod from crosman, but what is the option for a longer barrel? Say I wanted to find a 20″ or 24″ barrel, where do you look? I haven’t taken the barrel off yet, but im guessing its the standard slide in and set screw? Its a matter of the transfer port lining up that eliminates the possible use of the longer 22xx barrels, right? Anybody know where to get a custom length? Im only seeing militia hammer forged, anybody have experience with them?



      • No, for some reason I assumed they didnt do under 25cal onlu because they mske the 25 mrods and thinking they were powder that just did this crossover and wouldn’t have much… I’m going to check it out now :p thanks!



          • Thanks for the tip, but it turns out just as I thought. All powder barrels. They did the 25 rodders and from other people contacting them I see they would do 100 or more 22 rodder but no singles, no nothin. I got 3 options, cheap standard length from Crosman oem, marmot militia 125$, lothar walther 112$ various lengths…. sounds like oem it is, but at the price I can get 2 or 3 and see which sends em straight. I really was hoping to get a few inches longer of barrel though… maybe hold out for a LW thats all but guaranteed and can come in the length I want… it would put a little shine on it to say its got a lothar walther barrel… 🙂



            • RDNA
              Research the .25 caliber Mrods.

              Pretty sure you can get the barrel from Crosman. I do believe the breech is different from the .177/.22 caliber breech. So you will have to probably get a .25 Mrod breech for your .177 Mrod.

              I will say this. You won’t regret going to .25 caliber. And you will get full power too. The gen2 Mrods all share the same valve. So barrel and breech change and you can have a easy 50 fpe .25 caliber Mrod.


            • To add to your list, you could also order an FX smooth twist blank and have Marmot machine it to fit the Mrod. I checked about 5-6 months ago, and AofA had no availability for the FX blanks, but didn’t check with FX directly.

              There are also CZ hammer forged barrels available, but I couldn’t find a source that looked reliable.

              FWIW, I tried two Crosman barrels and gave up. Saved my money and got a .22 FX Wildcat, which arrived a couple of days before Christmas. Got the scope I asked for from PA and just sighted it in on the day after Xmas (after using my other Christmas present to weld up a snail pellet trap that works really well). Based on what I’m seeing at 50 yards, the noise about the FX smooth twist barrels is pretty much on the money; the gun is very accurate, delivers 50+ shots on 3000 psi fill, and is very quiet with a Hugget moderator. More to come, once I’ve had a chance to shoot some more.


              • Thats what I was afraid if the n the cheap crosman barrels and all the negative talk, but everyone keeps asking “are they still like that, still junk?”, probably a reasonable response would be “are they still the same price? Then probably”, I hadnt thought of going an FXST barrel, but definitely have seen the Wildcat, with much lust in my eyes. I think they were around 1300$? I think if I had any where near a thousand saved up I would have had to already have sprung for something, but im sure the extra 300$ shows handling that wildcat, or bobcat or any of their awesome creations. I am Swedish so any product made in Sweden holds the same venerability (the correct term is probably “veneration”, but seems out of context… whatever) as the German stamp brings. The whole idea of bruks is amazing, and that they still operate today! It reminds me of the mill towns I grew up in, and what they must’ve been like in their hayday, and that its a shame we have so little industry, or at least not roboticized , even if they wanted to work, the cramped mill tenements are now just drug pits that give the state a bad name. I grew up in them, exploring the mills and rivers and burnt down mansions… sorry, just had a memory overload! Lol, anyway, yeah, ill check out the fxst options.



  16. Old world craftsmanship vs new technology.
    I remember my 1969 Alfa Romeo.
    Dual sidedraft Spica carbs. You could literally (and I mean literally) get a tune up done on a warm day, and if it turned chilly two days later I’d be out there with a screwdriver adjusting the carbs so it wouldn’t stumble.
    If it dropped at all below freezing the regimen was…pull the choke, quickly stab the accelerator five time and pray. It either started or it flooded. If it was more than about 10 degrees below zero I took a cab….even if it was plugged in it wouldn’t start.
    My four year old Trailblazer has never been plugged in…and the temp here in Edmonton hits -30c at times during December….and it just starts no problem.
    But…sitting in that burgandy leather interior…with the big Alfa wooden steering wheel and and the cluster of white on black Veglia gauges staring back at me…man I felt like a king.
    But I would never go back to owing one as a daily driver.



  17. Happy New Year!

    The automobile \ airgun analogy is a tuff one since many of us identify with or have emotional connections to both.

    Certainly four wheel disc brakes, ABS, stability control, 6 speed automatic transmissions, corrosion resistant steel, fuel injection or turbo charging, horse power per cubic inch, suspension components, radial tires, and an endless list modern improvements convey the message of product advancement in cars.

    However the “soul” of the new autos is arguably lacking in most models in spite of all the advancements. I believe that to be the case also with a plastic stock and a matte barrel air rifle. More power and accuracy often, but the warmth of a walnut stock, the look of the blue as it gleams when oiled or starts to wear with age can’t be replaced.
    So while I am all for cars made with modern technology, I still lust after rifles, pistols, and revolvers with traditional furniture and metal finish.

    (Full disclosure – I still buy nearly all my cars with manual transmissions…)


    • As a car guy, and an airgun guy, I agree totally with your presumptions. Cars lost their “souls” in the early 70’s. The only thing I wish my new texan had was a checkered walnut (high gloss) fore grip and matching tank cover, otherwise, WoW!


  18. I feel quite the opposite really, If you sent a Walther LGV back to 1905 your BSA Lincoln Jeffries owning great great grandpappy would happily service or repair it…..now send a BMW M5 back to him and let him get his toolkit out of the Model T…..
    Spring piston development has been in a time machine, some material refinement, better tolerances but, apart from the Diana invented sliding breech for underlevers and Theoben putting a gas spring in to a conventional powerplant
    Nothing, nothing at all.
    The same analogy follows through with performance, spring guns produced around 9 fpe and could put 5 pellets in an inch at 25 yards in 1905
    Now a top end rifle like a Diana 52 produces 23 fpe and a similar group at 50 yards
    Thats just over twice the performance
    Now take a premium car from 1905 and pitch it up to a Veyron
    110 years of refinement in airguns, yes, development no, absolutely not.
    You can take that 1905 BSA and fit a gas strut and ptfe seals in it and it’ll take about half hour
    Which says it all


  19. I would like to know the history of the shinsung career 707. As I see it, here in the USA there are only 3 people with extensive knowledge, not only that I think one of them might have passed away. This was a revolutionary airgun that pretty much made others in the 90’s look outdated. I have a “gold gun” in .22 with factory peep sights (no provision for rear sight). I bought it from ars a long time ago “used”. It came in the shinsung black zipper case, came with the scope rail (seperate) and screws to install it. It came with the adjustable trigger (un-installed either), 2 extra clips, Adjustable pellet stop (non-installed). It says “shin sung industrial co ltd 707 II” or close to that. Target front sight with replaceable objectives.

    There is NO pic of a gun like this on the internet, I dared never to make it something that was not offered from the factory, as in installing any accessory that came with it. It has only 3 power levels. At one point I was trying to sell it, and everyone wanted to know where the rear sight came from, all I could say was the “factory”.

    2 years ago the gun was out of air after sitting, I put air in it, and it leaked out within 12 hrs. I have the factory wrench for the end caps and re-did all the o-rings in the front end. It still leaked, and I gave up for a year, thinking it was the seal on the valve….

    Well, I got my tank re-hydroed and went to fill it, filled it up to like 2600, shot it a bunch of times and had no issue until I hit 1000, at which point it started leaking out of the pressure gauge at the end, So I filled it back up again to 3200, and it has held for the past 6 months. Problem is trying to find parts for this gun, if I ever need them as it a non standard 707 like rws, which I have an old one in .25 (most accurate airgun I have ever seen, with pelletman slugs). Even that guy seems to have “dissapeared”.

    If anyone has info on this gun it would be greatly appreciated, or what happened to “pelletman” who made the finest slugs in the history of airguns (my opinion)…..


    • RamboRob,

      Welcome to the blog. I bought one of the first 50 Career 707s to come into the U.S. in 1996. I filled it with a hand pump in those days. That rifle was very accurate and easy to shoot. As it came the power wasn’t that smooth. It was way over-powered though, and ran out of air following the first shot. And there were only three positions to adjust.

      I had mine modified to have 18 power settings and at 30 foot-pounds I got as many as 90 giood shots. I had to dial the power up after shot number 40 or so to do this.

      I put a regulator in mine, but it failed after a couple years. I don’t recommend doing that.

      Shin Sung was a very good company for a while, then they stopped caring about their products. Their barrels became spotty and you never knew if you would get a good one. And they stopped supplying repair parts. Finally they were supported so poorly that they simply went away. No dealer would handle them.

      That’s the whole story of Shin Sung in the U.S., start to finish.

      B.B.


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