Media Day at the Range

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Shot Show Day 1
Shot Show Day 2
Shot Show Day 3

This report covers:

  • Media Day
  • Only Crosman
  • Pioneer
  • Regulated
  • Was I impressed?
  • Shotguns

Media Day

Every year the SHOT Show holds Media Day at the Range, an all-day event at a huge range sounth of Las Vegas. Over a hundred businesses and more than a thousand media professionals are involved. It’s the place that allows the gun writers to say, “I shot that at the SHOT Show” — something no one else can say, because no functional guns or any kind are permitted at the show. Only security guards have functional guns.

Media ranges
The ranges stretch to the top of the hill on the left and as far again beyond. Media Day is big!

Only Crosman

Out of all that, how many airgun companies showed up? One. Just Crosman, who brought their new Pioneer airbow that everyone was talking about. They were my first stop.

Pioneer

The Pioneer is built on the Benjamin Bulldog chassis, but the valving is completely different. There is no way a Bulldog could be turned into a Pioneer without a lot of engineering. But you crossbow shooters should take note, because this bow weighs several pounds less than most bows, and this one is more powerful than any of them. And it cocks with a single finger!

The 375-grain shafts are hollow and slip over a tube that protrudes from the front of the airbow. When I loaded an arrow it tried to pop back out on me because I was compressing air inside the tube.

airbow explanation
Crosman’s Chip Hunnicutt explains how the Pioneer works.

Regulated

They filled it for me, and the filler is a probe that fits in the side of the reservoir instead of a Foster fitting that attaches at the front. I think that’s a safety issue, so you don’t get in front of a very lethal crossbow. I “watched” many arrows go downrange and only caught a glimpse of one of them. They move out at 450 f.p.s. and are still going 400 f.p.s.

The gun is regulated and Hunnicutt told me they are getting 8 good shots per fill. For a hunter that’s more than enough.

Once the Pioneer was filled they let me take over. I got to load it, cock it and of course shoot it several times.

airbow loading
The airbow is loaded by sliding a hollow arrow over the tube in the gun. You feel for the seal of the shaft at the end of loading.

airbow cocking
The bow is cocked by lifting a lever on top of the stock. It can be manually uncocked, too!

And then I shot. I noticed the arrow seemed to go high on the target, so I took a second shot. That’s when I learned how accurate the Pioneer is! My second arrow nearly touched the first one at 30 yards.

airbow target
The only way to get closer is to put one inside the other.

Robin Hood
Which someone else did! Arrow inside arrow.

Was I impressed?

I didn’t know what to think before testing the Pioneer. Now I wonder how they’re going to make enough of them. Crosman has another winner on their hands, I think.

The rest of Media Day was just me shooting firearms. In know, it’s a lousy job, but somebody has to do it — right? One more anecdote for the day, though.

Shotguns

People who know me well know that I am not a shotgunner. I’ve only been able to hit birds with one shotgun and my buddy, Otho won’t sell that one to me. Well, I may have found another at Media Day. At the Benelli booth I was handed a 28-gauge semiauto that’s chambered for 3-inch shells. Yes, it’s the only one in the world, becvause the 28-gauge 3-inch shell is brand new.

For some reason I was able to hit with this gun about half the clay pigeons thrown. It weighs about 5 pounds and if I had the money I’d buy one!

shotgun
I did pretty good (great for me) with a new Benelli semiauto shotgun.

There was more Media Day, but no more airguns. I had to leave early to get back and write this blog.

Today I am at the first day of the SHOT Show itself, so there will be more new guns coming tomorrow.

92 thoughts on “Media Day at the Range



  1. BB
    The 28 gauge is a game changer. My brother says it kicks a bit more than a 410 but patterns like a 20 gauge.

    If anybody has ever shot bird on the wing you have to be a pretty good marksman if your shooting a 410. So that was the last choice I was going to make. Definitely don’t need more challenges right now you know.

    I have been seriously looking at getting a new shotgun. Was looking at a shorter youth model Remington 20 gauge pump gun. Why shorter? Going to do some black bird eradication when they fly by to roost at night. They are very consistent on the time they fly by.

    Then brother told me about the 28 gauge. And the Benelli looks to be a heck of a gun.

    I’m pretty sure that’s how I’m going to end my day of airgun shooting in the near future. They always fly by when the sun is almost down. How’s that for ending a day of shooting. I’ll get my blood all pumped after some wing shooting. I guess I’ll call it wing shooting. There’s just so many of them all the time. Hope I get one bird for each shell at least. Going to see shortly. I will say that for sure.

    I think my two hawk buddies will be more happy with me at the end of the day. One is a big red tail hawk and the other is big too but is brown with a big white chest. They always come and get the black birds. It seems their happy I moved here. I’m happy I know that. 🙂


    • Hello Gunfun1
      You are a lucky fellow to have birds of prey patrolling your house, and out buildings. I have a 17 acre field butting up to my backyard that is usually planted in alfalfa. It is quite an amazing sight to watch a Red Tailed, or Coopers hawk soaring effortlessly while catching updrafts for lift. On a hot summers day, they rarely need to flap their wings at all. If I am lucky, I may catch one just spotting a mouse, or other rodent. They hurl earthward, and quickly are enjoying a nice snack on top of our clothesline pole. I have yet to see a hawk miss it’s intended target. Another plus last year, was the return of a pair of Peregrine Falcons hunting mice, and starlings. The last time I saw Peregrine Falcons around our house would be about 20 years ago, and it’s a real treat to see these majestic birds make a comeback. When they dive, the speed they obtain is nothing short of breathtaking.
      For the past 15 years, our local power company put up a platform on a tall pole to attract Osprey’s. It’s a real treat to see either the male, or female returning from Lake Okanagan with a nice Lake trout,(land locked salmon). They have erected a camera over the nest, so we need only to log onto the company’s web sight to check up on the progress of our family of Osprey’s. This must be a universal program, as I have seen similar camera equipped Osprey’s nests in Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Alberta. We live about 10 minutes from downtown Kelowna BC, but because of the number of raptors hunting, and nesting so close to our house, we get the impression of living in the wilderness.
      And, as both my neighbours own, and shoot airguns, we might have 1 or 2 informal plinking sessions a month, I feel free to plink in my backyard providing there are no kids playing in their backyard. I have had a few weird ricochets in the past, and it would devastate me if I were to accidentally hit a child. Always think safety first, and you’ll never need to say your sorry.
      Ciao
      Titus


      • CT
        Yep the hawks are cool to watch. I have seen them get field mice all the way up to rabbit and red sqerrial out in the feilds and edge of the woods.

        And got plenty of room, acres and acres of woods and fields. Got one neighbor which is the farmer that lives about a half mile away. Then nobody for about 3 miles. He shoots also.

        We got deer, turkey, fox, coyotes and many other critters too. The farm feild starts a little over 50 yards out in my back yard and the first tree line is about 200 yards. Then another feild and tree line and so on for miles. But the animals come right up in the yard all the time. We have 5 mature doe and 3 big bucks that usually end up out in the feild to eat all the time.

        I don’t hunt anymore. Not even rabbit or sqerrials. I enjoy watching the wild life. Well except for the black birds. The farmer says he gets at least 3 or 4 everyday. There is ridiculous amounts of them. Something needs done about them that’s for sure.



    • Gunfun,

      I do not know whether your hawk buddies will be quite happy in the years to come, lead poisoning is this way is quite common for birds of prey. Problem is to get rid of the black birds without the lead. Maybe some other readers know a solution which will help both parties.

      That crossbow is really something to test. I will be quite interested how it functions at some longer distances.

      Regards,

      August


    • GF1,

      Like August says, lead is not good for birds of prey. You might need to switch to alloy pellets for the air rifles and steel or alloy shot for the shotguns when hunting starlings. I know I would appreciate it if you did such.


      • RR
        The black birds I have shot so far have been with the pellet guns. And no lead in them birds. Every one that was shot by the house was a pass through. Even the ones out in the feild I shot with the .25 Marauder. How do I know? Saw the dirt fly when the bird was hit.

        That is something people should be aware of when they pest shoot and not retrieving or in some cases not being able to retrieve the pest. Remember I volunteer my time with the city if they need pests eliminated with a airgun. Depending on where or what I’m doing I don’t want the pellet to pass through or I do want it to pass through. And in those instances they usually take the pest away but sometimes cant depending on where its at. But that is something I bet people don’t think about.

        And did you really say to shoot aluminum out of one of my air guns. No, no and no. Not going to happen in one of my air guns. Maybe if I had a Gamo Whamo blaster air gun I would. No I wouldn’t even do that. And do you really expect me to hit one of those black birds with that aluminum pellet? I know there is new alloy pellets out there. But nope not for me.

        Oh and my brother is a duck hunter still to this day. I think my dad rubbed off on him. But he uses the bismuth shot shells in 28 gauge. So if I do get me one of the new pump guns (really want a semi-auto). It will probably be a 28 and those type of shells.

        But there is different problems with even other types of shot shells too. There are a bunch of articles written about the pro’s and con’s of alternate ammo. Search and read some. Pretty interesting.




    • Yes, I jealous as well…

      The temperature in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada this morning is -18 degrees C, 0 degress F with a windchill of -33 C, -28 F.

      Just a bit fresh for target shooting 🙂


      • Hank
        We ain’t got that cold here and I hope we don’t. Last 4 days the highs have been in the middle teens and lows in the single digits.

        Guess what ole Gunfun1 did. Had the Mr.Heater dual burner propane heater blast’n in the breezway. And I was shooting.
        What do you call that. Dedicated or crazy. Maybe a little of both. 🙂


        • GF1,

          It was calm on the weekend and decided to doing some shooting with the FWB300.

          The first five groups were pellet on pellet then the groups started to spread out drastically. I was concentrating on my sight picture and didn’t notice that I was shivering until I realized my fingers were so numb I couldn’t feel the difference between the 1st and 2nd stage on the trigger. Duh!

          Think I crossed the line from “dedicated” to the “crazy” side. My wife commented something about “no sense, no feeling” – she is probably right 🙂


          • Hank
            That will for sure make your group’s grow. 🙂

            And I tell you that little propane heater is wonderful in the breezway. I was wearing a flanal shirt over a t-shirt. Got my saw horse rest right in front of the window and the propane heater to the left of the window. No wind will come in. Of course unless somebody opens the door to the house or to the garage. Then it creates a suction and draws the cold air in. So I just close the window if we have to go in or out.

            Matter of fact after I get the temperature up in the room I turn one burner off. I will start sweating with both burners going. Even with the window open. If I didn’t have the breezway and the heater I’m sure my fingers wouldn’t last long outside. And I can’t stand shooting with gloves on. So that’s out of the question.

            But it definitely allows me to shoot all year. I think maybe I should move more south though. Then I would have to find away to have a house with a breezeway that’s air conditioned. Better just stay where I’m at for now. 😉


      • yeah, thats cold.
        Cold enough to leave them rifles inside.
        With a mild freeze and no wind Ill shoot outside though.
        thin leather gloves with cut off fingertips does the job for me.
        But minus 18 celcius is too much.
        For evening sessions with diopter Ive put lights above the 10m cardholder. You’ll be suprised how well you can see the target trough the peepsight.
        This spring we will build a roof between the house and my workshop. Ill be able to shoot up to 17 meters…. come hell or high water, I can shoot on a rainy day 🙂


        • Dutchjozef,

          The fingerless gloves might help a bit – think that I am going to wait until it is a bit milder though. 🙂

          I have a 10 meter distance for shooting in the basement but the lighting is not the best. I’ll try switching on/off different lights in the room and hang a light over the target to see what works.

          Hank


          • Im sure a 60 watt light placed 4 inches in in front of the card under an angle of 30 to 50 degrees wil do the job just fine.
            If you use a diopter, youll probably want to use an adjustable iris.
            Please let me know how it worked out
            cheers


            • I’ll try this on the weekend and let you know Dutchjozef.

              I just have the standard aperture sights that come with the FWB603 – no adjustable iris – so I may have to play around with the lighting to get it working.

              Thanks for the suggestions!


  2. Oh and that’s a shame no other air guns on the range.

    What the heck is up with that?

    And I think I’m impressed with the Crosman Pioneer. But is it as quiet as a bow and arrow or a crossbow?

    And I hope that somebody kept that arrow on top of arrow they shot. Crosman better get on the ball and put that in their marketing ads. Especially since it was done in front of everybody on media day. I’d have to say that’s the million dollar shot of the year.


    • GF1,

      I doubt it is as quiet as a crossbow, even though a crossbow is not that quiet.

      The big question is whether various state hunting regulations will allow the use of the Pioneer during bow season. Any state that would be liberal enough to consider this a bow would not allow it because it hurls a projectile and looks like an assault rifle.

      Seriously, I would prefer if more bow hunters used something like this if for no other reason than because of the accuracy, but it would take a serious stretch of the imagination to define this as a bow.


      • As for the noise level most of the sound waves seem to get trapped inside the arrow shaft on this type design so it may appear loud to a shooter pushing a heavyweight point but to the target should be all but silent until right before impact.



        • Interesting combination. How many arrows come with the airbow and do they include any type of quiver? Do they have multiple types of arrow heads for target shooting versus hunting points? Do the stabilization feathers get compressed in the “barrel” when you load it?

          Enjoy your convention and don’t get sore feet.


        • State regulations will only be tough if the users petition themselves as archers. Most state wildlife commissions will jump on this (increased license sales) if the users pursue the use of this gun as a primitive weapon. Doing this would also avoid any negative pressure from the various state bowhunting associations. This is an extremely powerful weapon with penetration way beyond what most will believe. Back in the day when all bows shot in the low 200 fps range an arrow would easily pass through a deer. At 450fps the bolt could quite easily penetrate two or more deer. This will not be a safe backyard gun. A bolt traveling at this speed will travel a great distance and be quite destructive if and when it glances off a target.


      • RR
        I have had a few crossbows throughout time. No they ain’t real quiet. But more so than a shot gun or firearm. So that’s why I wondered if maybe the arrow how it slides over the barrel kind of acts like a shroud.

        And yep regulations. That’s what I’m still trying to figure out. What would I use Crosman air bow for.


        • GF1,

          I would not have a use for it either. I have owned several bows throughout my life, but have never brought myself to gut shoot a deer with one. A head shot with a bow is pretty difficult although this looks like it could be accurate enough for such.


    • Talk about lipstick on a pig!
      They really turned that design around with this project!
      I’m very enthusiastic about this airbow thing! As I said last month Texas just legalized crossbows for taking game last year.
      This gun is gonna be a whole lot easier and safer than using a crossbow and apparently just as effective if not more so!



    • Gunfun1:

      The arrow in an arrow is called a Robin Hood. With regular arrows, it is very hard to stick one arrow into another. The nock on the arrow already in the target will tend to deflect the second arrow. It requires a perfect hit. The nock end of the Pioneer arrows appear to be open, so it may be slightly easier to Robin Hood one of these arrows.

      I hope the person making Robin Hood got to keep it. I have two proudly mounted on my bow rack. Getting two Robin Hoods took me over 20 years.

      Jim


      • Congratulations on your two Robin Hoods, Jim. I shot a lot for a few years back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I never shot a Robin Hood, but while practicing with multi-blade broad heads I managed to slice through a lot of vanes and I did crack a nock or two. I agree with you that it is a bit easier to shoot the Robin Hood when the rear end of the arrow (or bolt) is an open hole. ~ken


      • Jim
        Thanks didn’t know that’s what that was called. Never heard it before.

        But yep I’m sure it would be hard to do that with a regular arrow compared to the hollow arrow.

        And really you done it twice. That’s cool.


        • I used to have to replace the flights on my darts on a fairly regular basis due to robinhooding them, until I found some spinning flight shafts and that’s a good reason to only shoot one at a bullseye when using a crossbow.



          • Reb

            I have heard of competition shooters who grind off the back of aluminum arrows so that there is just enough taper left to glue on a nock . The idea is that if they split a nock, they have a better chance of a robin hood . If you split a nock on an intact shaft, the arrow deflects badly out of the group .

            twotalon


            • I only built one arrow for my last one but when I build this next one it won’t be just experimenting with a gun while I have it torn down.
              This one’s gonna be for keeps!


  3. Thanks for the report!
    Any idea what kinda fill-pressure or what they have the Pioneer regulated to?
    I don’t know how many people will recall but I built a multi-pump version of this type weapon out of a Crosman 760 and an extra Daisy 880 barrel and found anything over 5 pumps to be excessive so it really shouldn’t use much air.
    I’m glad it’s so accurate!
    Congratulations Crosman!
    Hopefully they’ll be effective at lobbying to get this weapon approved by many states as a legal means of taking game very soon so this thing can see it’s fullest growth potential(Are Ya listening Crosman?)!



  4. B.B.,

    I am stunned, and not in a good way.

    One air gun manufacturer? One? At last year’s Shot Show you reported on thirteen air gun companies: AirForce, Air Ordnance, Beeman, Chiappa, Crosman, ASG/Dan Wesson, Gamo, Hatsan, Remington, Right Now Range, RWS/Diana, Sig, and Umarex, The year before most of the above were there plus Air Arms and KalibrGun.

    You have written about the invisible airgunner, but what is going on with the invisible air gun makers? I thought our hobby was growing, not shrinking.

    Michael



  5. I just read on GTA that Crosman has acquired the exclusive license for Remington Branded Airguns. I wonder if this will mean some higher quality pistols and rifles?


  6. Tom,

    If you like 28 gauges, check out the Weatherby SA-08. I got to shoot one recently on a 5-stand range. First round, first time, I out shot my previous round score that I shot with my Browning over and under that is set up sporting clays.

    The only problem that I see with the 28s is the cost of shells. However, the 28s seem to be becoming more popular so the cost of shells should decrease. Reloading can bring the cost per shell way down but I then shoot more so it evens out.

    Jim


  7. B.B.,
    I have read that on Monday (Jan 18th) SIG SAUER had a SIG SAUER Range Day of 2016. It said no less than 1,200 SHOT Show attendees were expected to attend this event the day before the 2016 SHOT Show actually starts. That said, I’m not sure if this was at the same spot or not. Bay one was where they had the Sig air guns. I take it this is not in the same area you were in. Maybe Sig had their own special deal outside the show? Thanks for the reports for all of us that can only dream we were there!
    Doc



    • If it comes with a pump for that price I’d say it’s a big deal too, but I couldn’t find any mention of a pump in the review just saw it alongside the gun in the image.
      The $200 PCP!

      🙂


    • I too found no mention of the pump. Just depends on the “real” price. The MSRP is listed at $200. A Disco is currently $260 at PA…and a wood stock at that. Very interesting to say the lest. So many new exciting guns.


    • Kevin
      That Crosman is quite a nice looking airgun. With a price tag just under $200.00, it would be a bargain evan without a pump. The Schnabel stock is nice touch also. What makes this rifle stand out from the rest is the 2000 psi (30 shot) operating range. I think Crosman has found a winner by updating the old Challenger package. At these prices, even with the horrible Canadian-American dollar exchange rate, it stands a good chance of becoming my first foray towards the Dark Side.
      Ciao
      Titus


      • CT
        The Challenger has some work done under the skin that most don’t notice.

        The striker/hammer assembly is different. Also the cocking bolt. It pulls from the back. So the bolt is ambidextrous with out having to reposition it. (kind of remind you of that military trainer rear cocking ring that BB just reported about) Plus it has a Lothar Walther barrel. And other features as well.

        And I do like the snabel end on the synthetic Maximus stock. The stock kind of resembles sport feild target stocks to me anyway. Oh and the velocity, shot count and fill pressure is right on target with the Discovery.

        To me the Maximus is a reclothed Discovery. Even if it isn’t closer to the $100 end of the price spectrum. But right at $200. I think it’s a winner.


  8. What’s the name of that range? I hope the distances for shooting are at least as long as the firing line. I’m not sure what to make of the air crossbow. This seems to be in the category of yes you can do it but why? It seems to be essentially a gun. But it would certainly be effective for hunting and it is nice to see arrows grouped so tightly.

    Ah yes, my firearms predictions omitted the trend towards semiauto shotguns led by the Marine Corps, I believe, which adopted semi-auto Benellis some time ago. What I don’t get is the 28 gauge. If 20 gauge is for shooting birds, what do you get out of a size that is so much smaller. Maybe this is filling the air shotgun niche which was never done successfully.

    As for the ring on the rear of the K31 bolt, this is a case of how taste cannot be disputed. I guess that my gripe against it is that it looks utilitarian without having a use. You wouldn’t pull the bolt with it when you have the cool sidelever action. Would you hang the rifle on a peg from the ring? Anyway, the rifle must be fun to shoot.

    Matt61


  9. Finally got done with all the Dr’s office visits and it looks like one wants to shove a camera up my butt while the other increased my anxiety meds?!
    Is this a conspiracy?
    Anxiety meds must not be working yet!


    • Reb,

      A conspiracy? It may well be, in a way. If your care is free, then unscrupulous Dr.’s will find all kind of stuff wrong with you. How? Well, you are a guarantied way to boost their bottom line. It all up to you, but always be suspicious. Ask questions and do your own research. Plus, some of the side effects are worse than the anything they are supposed to fix. Of course, if you have any side effects,….they got something for that too!

      Be careful. Who ever said that a “half a bubble off plumb” is so bad anyways? 😉


  10. BB, the thing with shooting a shotgun is that is the exact opposite of shooting a rifle. With a rifle, you look at the sights, with a shotgun you look at the target. Trying to aim a shotgun like a rifle will only lead to misses. Keep your head down on the stock, look at the target, and keep swinging then follow through. It’s fun but takes practice of course. Don’t over think it. Once you start to think about it too much, you start to aim, and miss.

    The Pioneer will be a big hit as long as it becomes legal for deer hunting……………in the archery season. Having the price at no more that $1000.00 will also help a bunch. It looks good so far.

    Mike


  11. The draw for the 28 ga is low recoil and light weight. They also tend to pattern well as it’s 3/4 oz shot charge fits that bore size well. A 3 inch chamber may well make the patterns better…………with the 3/4 oz shot charge. With heavier shot charges, maybe not so much. But, size sells.

    Mike




Leave a Reply