What you want

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Wake management
  • Zombies and pink
  • The story of Kevin
  • Bronco
  • But it looks so cool!
  • The secret
  • Just ask Chris USA

Before I begin, here is an update on my eye. The doctor says the operation was a success. I can keep the eye and now I can hold my head upright. I still have a gas bubble in the eye causing distortion, but that should be gone in another week. Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes. Now, let’s get to today’s report.

I know what you want, even if you and the airgun manufacturers don’t. You look at specifications day after day, comparing one airgun to another, until the balance between the finalists rests on a razor-thin edge. You think this is getting you closer to what you want. Well, it isn’t. When I tell you what you want you will realize you have been looking for the wrong thing all along. You thought you wanted that supermodel, right up to the moment that you fell in love with the girl next door.

Wake management

In the boardrooms of airgun companies all around the world executives and managers meet to discuss what they think you want. They pore over spreadsheets of data that tell them what you have wanted in the past. They believe if they can accurately describe what you wanted in the past, they can give it to you in the future, in ways that will astound you. And frankly their line of reasoning astounds me!

They are like the captain of a mighty ship who stands on the stern of his vessel, gazing at the powerful wake left by the ship. They fully believe that by watching the wake and analyzing it carefully they can learn where the ship is heading. Let’s call that ship the Titanic! Someone needs to be in the wheelhouse, looking ahead!

Zombies and pink

Believe it or not, not everyone who works for an airgun manufacturer likes airguns. Not even the managers and executives! I know — that comes as a real shock — right? It’s like trying to imagine a senator who isn’t serving his state so much as he is serving himself.

But whether or not they like airguns, these people are supposed to be the best and the brightest the company has, so when the time comes for fresh ideas, they grasp for seemingly unrelated things. Zombies, for instance. Zombies are hot with the under-30 crowd right now, so why not mix them in with airguns? If you don’t know what you are doing, throw in a zombie. Nobody really knows much about them. It takes the heat off you, because there are no wrong answers when the topic isn’t real!

Same thing for the color pink. Lots of women love that color. So, if the walls are closing in on you to come up with a new idea, paint it pink! Of course there are practical limits. Pink sewer pipes are probably not on anyone’s shopping list, nor are they likely to create a buzz when they first appear on the market. Part of marketing is knowing who is buying your products and then figuring out what they want. However, it’s hard to know what someone wants when they don’t even know it themselves, and I started this piece by telling you that you don’t know what you want. But I do! If you’re over 28 and have real money in your pocket, it sure isn’t pink zombies!

The story of Kevin

Let me illustrate my point before I blurt it out. Kevin started reading this blog many years ago. Kevin likes nice guns. He hunted extensively and even guided hunts. During that time he valued fine rifles like Winchesters and Weatherbys. He knew when the chips were down a well-made rifle would deliver the goods, rather than making excuses. So, when he came into airguns, he looked for the best. When he found them and discovered how really great they are, Kevin turned inside-out and became a full-blown dedicated airgunner. He wanted to try everything — as long as there was a chance it was good. Along the way, he discovered a secret.

Good airguns don’t always cost a lot of money. I will expand on that. Good airguns don’t always look flashy. Sometimes a good airgun looks plain-Jane (no offense, Rocket Jane Hansen!), but feels fantastic when you hold it and shoot it. It’s that girl-next-door phenomenon. I have touted the Diana 27 for as long as this blog has been active and those who own them understand what I mean. So does Kevin.

Bronco

That’s why I worked with Pyramyd Air to bring you the Air Venturi Bronco. It was as close as I could get to the Diana 27 without spending a fortune in start-up cash. Well, the Bronco is now gone and there is a line of people crying about missing the boat. The Tech Force M8 has taken its place and, although the look and some of the features have changed, the performance is still there. And somewhere people are saying, “Thank goodness they got rid of those ugly blonde stocks with that horrible cowboy look!”

Right! And thank goodness the girl next door finally got tired of waiting for you and married that banker. At least now one of you can be happy.

But it looks so cool!

One more story before I tell you what you really want. I used to ride a 1948 Harley hardtail panhead motorcycle. I hung out at the home of the guy who built it. It was a bobber, though we didn’t have that term in the 1960s. Another guy who hung out with us had a nice Triumph Bonneville bobber/chopper, until he traded it and a boatload of cash for the most outlandish chopper you have ever seen. The springer front forks were kicked out so far that the springs didn’t cushion the ride — the up-and-down flexing of the fork legs did! The ape-hanger handlebars were so high that the guy needed help turning the bike around when it wasn’t under power. But it looked cool! At least that’s what he thought. And looking cool was what he was all about.

His bike didn’t run most of the time. When it did he drove it over to my friend’s house, because it would almost certainly need fixing very soon.

Friends — that motorcycle was the two-wheel equivalent of a Chinese mega-magnum breakbarrel that’s advertised to shoot at 1400 f.p.s. Who knows if it does; it’s too hard to cock and a real pain to shoot. But it’s cool to sit on the couch and just think about the power of that awesome air rifle.

Then your friend comes over with his HW 30S and the two of you go outside and shoot for awhile. You like shooting his rifle because it’s easy to cock, it’s accurate, the trigger is nice and the stock doesn’t smack you in the jaw every time it fires. Your friend saved up for a long time to get that rifle and he loves it. Of course it isn’t as cool as your rifle, which is currently standing in the corner.

The secret

The secret is — (drum roll) — there isn’t any secret. People, and that means all of you, want what works. They think they want what looks good, or what makes them look good for having it, but the truth is, they want what works. For an airgun that means the following:

Easy to cock
Accurate
Doesn’t hurt when you shoot it
The trigger is nice

Of course it is also nice if it’s attractive, but looks do not play into whether the gun is any good. They only enhance your pride of ownership when the other essential things are all there. And the essential things do not get better or worse as the cost rises or lowers. The cost simply determines when it will be possible for you to own one — not whether or not it is any good.

Just ask Chris USA

Reader Chris USA did something I rarely see. As a relatively new airgunner he took everyone’s advice and bought the best spring gun on the market — an Air Arms TX200 Mark III. And he loves it!

But Chris isn’t any happier than the guy who just could not find the cash for a TX and bought a Slavia 634 instead. Or a Beeman R7. Or a Beeman P17. These are the happy guys, because they have airguns they can shoot!

What you want is something that works.

95 thoughts on “What you want

  1. Hi B.B,

    Great to hear that you are going to be OK & that great shooting eye will be back soon. Our prayers have been heard by the Good Lord. Thanks so much for your commitment to the Blog but take it easy till you recover fully, Sir. BTW I love artilces like these, they help us to focus on what really matters!

    Errol


  2. BB
    I really think you do know how much I like something that works. And I hate something that doesn’t work as much as I like something that does work.

    I just tryed to go back in my mind and recall all the air guns I tryed. I can’t. Man there was so many. I wanted to know about how all the different ones acted. Why one shot great and the other one didn’t. And pellets I have tryed. Oh my gosh I can’t even recall all the different ones I had.

    I said I was on a quest to find the best. I even got some of the same guns I tryed in the past again just to see if they shot better when I found out more about air guns.

    I spent a good chunk of change on air guns over time and found out what works and what didn’t. But you know what. I don’t care that I spent that money or modded those different guns. I had fun and learned. I been that way with every hobby I been in.

    Then came the narrowing down the horses in the stable. Let some air guns go that I probably should of kept but that’s another story.

    I now only have 7 air guns to my name. And for a reason. But 4 of them are my regular shooters that are out on the table on the weekend to shoot. That’s a big thing for me after working for 5 long days during the week. The weekend shooting and with my wife and two daughters I might add.

    I still got my RC 3D arobatic plane and helicopters. I keep saying I’m going to fly them on the weekend but I don’t. And I got all the room in the world now. But we just like shooting the airguns and firearms to much.

    Oh I didn’t say what those 4 air guns where.
    A 1377 modified into a pump rifle from Benjamin Discovery parts including a cut to fit wood Discovery stock.

    Next the well tuned by me Tx 200 in 177. caliber with a right hand beech stock with a Tasco red dot sight on it. Yep a red dot sight.

    Then my black Talon SS with the spin lock tank and the scope mounted Stoeger bi-pod and a NcStar green laser that I will add is a killer daytime laser out to a 100 yards easy. Can’t find another one that compares yet. Even after tryed to get a couple more with the same part number. Yes I won’t get rid of that laser.

    Then last but not least of my fabulous 4 the ugly gen 2 wood stock .25 caliber Marauder that is modded and tuned for max velocity out of a stock valve with the scope mounted Stoger bi-pod. Yep it thumps at a 100 yards.

    Oh and the three guns other than the Tx have Hawke 2.5-10 magnification etched glass half mildot retical with the sidewheel adjustable parralax.

    And I know I wrote a mini blog just now. So sorry for being so long. And I’m done now after one last thing. The reason I have my fab 4 right now is (I know what I want). And the reason is because they work. And man it took a long time to get there. But I’m happy with what I have for sure. Over and out. Gunfun1.



      • BB
        Just say’n it the way it is. There’s more to say. But just keept it simple.

        Wondering what kind of story’s other people’s air gun journey has been like. That’s what I like to hear about. But maybe that’s another blog in itself.

        All I know is I’m glad I got what I got now. Wife, daughters, air guns and a house where I can shoot even firearms at. Oh and even glad we he have the cat that adopted us a few years back as a kitten. But getting ready to get a dog again. Our dog we had got as a puppy 18 years ago when my oldest daughter was born died about a half year ago. Didn’t want to get another one. But think I’m ready now. Miss it running around with me when I use to go hunting and out in the yard messing around. So yep that’s the next thing in line for me.

        See don’t take me much to be happy. Now just wish I didn’t have to work so much. 🙂


  3. BB
    Kind of did this backwards. But yes great news about your eye. I posted a reply to you yesterday when you came back from the doctor and said all went well.

    I have always had in the back of my mind what would happen if I didn’t have my shooting eye or if I became totally blind. I think to many things in life are taken for granted. When we don’t have the things how they use to be is when we realize how lucky we were when we did have them.

    I know I have had multiple things through out time change. And I do know that I need to be glad I have what I have and what I have exsperianced over time. Somethings will never be the same. And for some of those things I’m glad it won’t be the same. And some I miss tremendously.

    But life is still happening be it rough going or a going well. We just got to keep on pushing on.


  4. B.B.,

    Good article. “Spot on” on so many fronts.

    Yes on the TX. I love it. Of course, I had not shot anything for a lot of years,.. so learning (how) to shoot compounded the whole learning experience. I have come along way in the “how”, but still consider myself to be just average,…. on a good day. 😉 Lesson learned.

    Then,… of course,… came the “Power Crave” phase,…. 🙂 Mmmmm,….. A Vortek kit was surely the answer! Well,… as it turned out,… it was not,… at least not the power answer. What I did learn was how to tear down an air rifle (a perfectly good one I might add) and learn how it works. The power only increased slightly, but it made an already smooth shooter even more so. Lesson learned.

    Then the LGU came along. Nice as well. It is a toss up on which one wins out the session for the day.

    So,.. a year later,.. I had arrived at a few conclusions. Rather tall,…. I have a pretty good length of pull,.. around 16 1/2″. That is a fit issue. Another thing was that I was pretty sure that a good adjustable comb would help. Neither of those things are common on wood stocked rifles. Last,… if I wanted more power,… springers were not going to fit the bill. Lesson learned.

    All of that brings us to current day. After much (too much) thought and research,… a PCP was going to be the answer. It is nice and is fit adjustable. It has power. The Marauder has a good track record, many tune options,.. even out the box. I am happy,… (well almost). Just the very act of getting everything together,.. and learning to use it,.. was a monumental task in and of itself. The same careful considerations went into every component. That can be/was/is exhausting,.. but cuts down on “buyer’s remorse” greatly. Now,.. I just have to learn to use all of this “stuff”. Lesson learned.

    Bottom line,.. Do your homework. Listen to those that you trust. Get serious on wants, wishes and needs. (If you do that,.. it becomes clear that they are not the same). Oh yea,…. be carful what you wish for. I got it,.. but I am also back to “square one”. At least on the learning side of things. Lesson?,…. well,… still learning that one. 😉

    Thanks to all that have helped along the way.

    Chris


  5. BB,

    Great to hear things are going well for you.

    Another spot on blog. Everyone, including the manufacturers, should read this and take a few minutes to try to understand what you said.


  6. Tomorrow morning Lloyd and I will be heading for the GTA Fun Shoot in Kentucky.

    http://www.gatewaytoairguns.org/GTA/index.php?topic=100747.0

    I would really like to see a bunch of you guys show up. If last year is any indication, this is going to be an awesome event.

    Lloyd has been tinkering around in his workshop again. He is supposed to be bringing a test bench air rifle that shoots at over 2000FPS!!! I don’t know if it can hit anything, but it should make a pretty awesome crack!


    • RR
      Sounds like fun. But oldest daughter is graduating high school Saturday so kind of busy with that going on and people comming over. Would like to be there.

      And Buldawg has been kind of following what Lloyd has been doing with that air gun test. Buldawg has kept me updated on it. I heard it came about by somebody telling Lloyd it wasn’t possible for a air gun to shoot over 1600 fps and something like that. And so far Lloyd apparently proved that wrong. Interesting stuff that’s for sure.



  7. B.B.

    Glad your eyes are doing better, prayers have been answered! A friend of mine used to have a deal with the local Hell’s Angels, whenever they needed bail money he would buy one of their bikes. Well I rode one of these “Easy Riders” at 35 mph it was GREAT. At any other speed it was horrible….at 5 mph it was the most dangerous. I will stick to my Norton thank you!

    -Y





          • I’m 6’3″ with a 36 inseam. I do not find it tall in the saddle. My 5’8″ buddy, with a 30″ inseam does and he always wants me to find him a bobber…

            The best part is turning by pressing your knees into the tank and putting pressure on the foot peg.
            Like riding a horse, I’m told!

            Glad you are feeling better!!! Yea.
            Complete aside, my brother is right handed but left eye dominant, I believe Edith had this affliction.
            Any recommendations for 10m pistol shooting? Maybe an article?

            -Y



              • Sorry B.B.-Interested in an article on shooting a 10m pistol right handed when they shooter is left eye dominant. You once showed Edith’s scope mount. I think she had the same problem.

                It must be much worse pistol shooting.
                Sorry for the delayed response, I was traveling.
                -Y


                • Yogi,

                  Okay, now I understand. I don’t habve anything for cross-eyed dominant pistol shooters except to learn to shoot with the other hand. But here are a couple 10-meter reports.

                  /blog/2008/08/10-meter-pistol-shooting-part-7/

                  /blog/2008/04/converting-an-anti-gunner-and-teaching-a-person-to-shoot-10-meter-pistol/

                  /blog/2008/04/introduction-to-10-meter-pistol-part-1an-instant-tutorial/

                  B.B.


  8. Excellent blog B.B.! You are really stirring the pot this morning! 🙂

    In my search for the Holy Grail of airguns I very quickly recognized that there is no single gun that covers all the applications – the requirements are too broad and often contradictory… not enough power/too much power; too light/too heavy; etc.

    So what we want depends on what we are going to use the airgun for. The executives in the boardrooms need to recognize that “one size does NOT fit all”.

    Prime example – last weekend I made a BIG mistake in letting me 9-year old granddaughter shoot one of my PCPs. Not surprisingly, after seeing her expression after she whacked a ½” spinner 12 out of 14 shots at 25 yards I’m now in the market for a light weight, youth sized PCP… probably in pink camo finish.

    Glad to hear that you are on the mend!

    Hank


  9. B.B.
    Glad to hear the good news. Just take it easy for a while until you are fully healed.
    In my opinion, If the manufacturers wanted to attract the attention of women they should have put the breast cancer Logo on the stock in stead of painting the entire thing pink.YUK! and donate some of the proceeds to breast cancer research.
    Congrats to Crosman on the design of Maximus stock, I just hope it shoots as good as it looks.
    Wish they would hurry up and send you one for testing.

    Pete



      • B.B.

        Thanks for the suggestions! Will check them out.

        Power is not a requirement, shot count would take precedence.

        My first thoughts for the requirements (in order of priority)…
        – youth sized/light weight
        – single shot tray
        – 550 to 650 fps
        – good accuracy
        – decent trigger
        – peep sights included
        – rail for a scope

        A synthetic stock would be fine. It should be adjustable to accommodate (rapidly) growing young people.

        Hank



          • B.B.

            I looked over the Edge – very nice – sure she would love it in red. 🙂

            Price on the Edge is a bit high (especially in Canadian dollars!) for a 9-year old girl whos intrests may change abruptly so I will be looking around a bit more to see what else is on the market.

            Was thinking about a Disco and making a light weight custom stock for it. Would you recommend that approach?



              • B.B.

                I have done a lot of gun-smithing so I wouldn’t be shy about shortening a Disco myself. From what I have read, the trigger would need some attention as well.

                You got me thinking… I have replaced the .177 Walther Dominator 1200 I bought for squirrel hunting with the .22 HW100 so that rifle is presently a closet-queen. Might be a fun project to shorten it and make a new stock – already have some maple and cherry strips available.

                Thanks Tom!

                Hank


                • Hank
                  I believe BB ment that Lloyd could make you a shorter main tube for the Disco. And I believe he can make it out of aluminum. And basically what I’m referring to is the air resivoir would be shorter.

                  You would still have to cut the back of the stock off for a shorter length of pull and possibly put a shorter barrel on it.

                  You know that 1377 pump pistol I turned into a rifle with the Discover stock and parts. Well I have another back half of a Disco stock that I cut the butt off that I did some years back for my daughters when they were younger. But it’s the same as the gun I just made and it has a 14″ barrel I had on it.

                  So if you got a Disco and put Lloyd’s short tube on it you could get a shorter barrel from Crosman and it would slip right in the steel breech of the Disco. Then you would just have to cut the butt of the gun. Then you would have you a youth sized custom Disco you put together.

                  Is she old enough to learn and see how the guns can come apart? That would be a way to teach about the gun also. Just a thought.


                  • GF1,

                    Was not thinking about the reservoir – I’m not one to mess with things like that – not something for amatuers! (don’t do brakes on cars either 🙂 )

                    She hangs around when I am in the workshop so she has seen lots of things being made, fixed or maintained – guns included. Was teaching her how to solder a couple of weeks ago.

                    She dis-assembled, cleaned, lubricated, re-assembled her own fishing reel at the end of the season last year so she has the interest/curiosity.

                    Hank


                    • Hank
                      Sounds like she takes after grandpa. 🙂

                      You should maybe biuld her a 1377 with the steel breech and longer barrel. Get a Marauder trigger assembly. I say the Marauder trigger cause it’s a nice trigger. Then make a custom stock for it since you like making stocks.

                      That would be a cool project and you both could personalize it as you go. And they are light weight guns and accurate.


                  • GF1

                    (there was no “reply” on your last message so I am responding here)

                    Making up a custom rifle based on the 1377 sounds very interesting and I am going to check into parts availability. Think the guy 10 minutes from home is a Canadian distributor.

                    I had already decided that that she is going to be making her own stock regardless of what approach we follow.

                    If you have a picture of the one you put together would you mind sending it to me? I would like to look it over. Thanks!

                    Later,

                    Hank


                    • Hank
                      I will email you pictures of the one I have now.

                      I thought I did once. But maybe I didn’t. Anyway will send them in a minute.


  10. Good morning Tom. So glad you are improving. As you personally know, an “average” firearm may not be cool but it does function much better. Remember when we were at the range and I had my Remington 700 with the camo painted wood stock? The stock developed a fatal crack near the trigger housing and became firewood. When I purchased the rifle used, the seller included a stock billed as the ultimate sniper stock. It was made out of synthetic material, had a pistol grip, free floating barrel, and a double horizontal cheek piece. I transferred the barrel and receiver group to this new stock along with the scope and bipod. It looked awesome. Everyone at the range commented on how “cool” it looked. The problem was it weighed about 10 pounds and was bulky to carry and transport. It had a sling but the buckles were on the side of the stock instead of on the bottom. I saw little if any improvement in accuracy.

    So I called Tom and asked him for his comments and opinion. He told me to get rid of this fancy specialty stock and purchase a factory style stock. He also commented how the military snipers all used basically factory stocks. After watching a few documentaries on the AHC network, it became obvious that the best snipers in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. all used a plain stock, not the fancy stock I had on my firearm.

    The end of my story is that I purchased a black synthetic Remington-brand stock on eBay and am totally pleased with it. Even with a scope and bipod, it is much lighter than the previous setup. And it does not look “funky”. However, I must admit that I lust after the Russian Dragunov sniper rifle which really looks cool. However Tom has set me straight about the high cost and poor quality in comparison to a nice bolt action rifle.

    Bob
    Pearland, TX


    • B-I-L

      You should try the offset sling – it is very comfortable to carry (the flat of the stock lies against the back and balance is excellent) and practical as well.

      I mount all my slings to the left side of the rifle/shotgun (I am right handed) and carry the rifle – barrel down – on my left shoulder with my left hand on the fore-stock. A large button sewn on the shoulder of my jacket keeps the sling from sliding off.

      Carrying this way keeps the barrel pointing down, in view and under full control at all times (also easier to maneuver through thick cover). The action/trigger and safety are covered by my arm and the scope, protected by the forearm, doesn’t catch on branches and things.

      With the sling properly adjusted. I can go from carrying to shooting very quickly (much faster than conventional sling carries). My left hand is already (comfortably) in position on the fore-stock, swinging the rifle up to the right positions the sling on the outside of my left arm, tight across my chest bringing the rifle butt into position on my right shoulder – my upper body is braced solid in one smooth motion and I can easily pivot at the waist for running/flying shots. When standing “at ready” the sling across the chest supports the weight of the rifle comfortably.

      Just my nickel (we don’t have pennies in Canada any more)

      Hank



  11. Hi BB,
    I am glad your eye is improving. You sure have had your challenges this last couple of years.
    I enjoyed your blog today. To your list of what we want, I would add slim and light weight. To this list of sure winners I would add the old BSA Supersports that are lighter and slimmer than the R9 / HW95, and the Slavia 630/631 as alternates to the R7 / HW30.

    David Enoch


  12. What do airgunners want?

    Unexpectedly but pleasantly airguns became a catalyst that sent me on an amazing journey.

    B.B. shared a glimpse of my experiences and lessons that I’ve been taught by airguns and airgunners. I’ll share a few more.

    Years ago I needed an airgun for a pest problem. As a kid my first gun was a rimfire. I had very little experience with airguns.

    You must know that I over think and over analyze most purchases. Airguns were no different. I read and read about airguns and kept coming across this guy named B.B. Pelletier aka The Great Enabler. I read years of his articles before asking my questions.

    B.B. was very patient but his extensive experience with a broad spectrum of airguns resonated in every answer. I paid attention to his answers and bought what I wanted but didn’t get what I needed. That was about 300 airguns ago.

    I’ve learned a lot about my needs, my wants and my likes. Once upon a time I spent many hours each day sharing my experiences with airgunners on this blog when B.B. was unable to do so. Those dialogues with airgunners taught me a lot too.

    Although most airgunners have many things in common like being able to shoot in our backyards with inexpensive ammo enjoying a superbly accurate weapon that infrequently needs cleaning we are also are very different.

    Airgunners can fall into one or many catagories:

    1-Price Point. These are usually buyers that have only been exposed to airguns that are displayed in their local big box stores. They want to know which of these under $150.00 they will be happy with

    2-Tinkerers. These are guys that enjoy an inexpensive airgun that has the potential to be made into a shooter by their own hands. They spend more time fixing/improving than shooting

    3-Latest and Greatest. These are guys that are frequently on the list waiting for a new, high end model of airgun to ship. They are thrilled with the possibility that this one will be better than any other that has come previously

    4-Collectors. These are the guys that don’t care as much about the guns accuracy or even shootability as its rarity.

    5-Buy Once and be Done. These are the guys that subscribe to the philosophy, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.

    There are others but the point I’m trying to make is that when an airgunner asks me a question I really need to know where they’re coming from in order to help them with WHAT THEY WANT

    kevin


  13. As always great advice. How do we get you and them locked in the same room?

    I will flat out say the P17 is the best airgun per dollar on earth. I say this as a man who spent more than a P3 costs on upgrades for his. Beeman needs to sell a .22 version. They need to offer it in a less blacked out look as well. I don’t mean pink zombie, I mean less glock and more ruger mark 1. I don’t think they understand what they are selling, for the average joe in his backyard a P17 is more accurate than he is.

    That ssp platform should be used as the heart of other guns. If they could reduce the force to snap shut the last half inch they would be really onto something.


    • StevenG,

      I have two FWB 10-meter guns that probably represent best-in-class in their time but at the opposite end of the price spectrum I completely agree with you that the P17 is an incredible deal. With a bit of spit and polish they are very nice shooters – have a pair of them. 🙂

      I made a cocking-jig to help my Dad (he is 93) with the cocking duties, works well.

      I plan on modifying the displacement on one of the pistols to trade some FPS of easier cocking – 325-350 fps would be fine for plinking and such.

      As a point of reference, My SSP pistol develops 25% more power with half the cocking force of the P17 so I am sure that the designers would be able to make improvements in that area if they took an interest.

      Agreed, the SSP platform has a lot of potential. If they can sell a P15 for $40 they they should be able to make a real nice shooting rifle for under $100. My SSP rifle develops 570 fps for 19 pounds of cocking force so the technology is there.

      I always wondered if the multi-stage hand-pump design could be used in a SSP. Would be interesting.


      • These guns benefit from a longer barrel. So a rifle would be an advantage to the platform. It would also mean the lever could be longer.
        I have a .25 caliber p17 with a barrel just shy of 12″ that makes about 300fps with 19.91grain H&N field target trophies.

        Could you describe the cocking jig?

        Which SSP pistol do you have? Sounds like one I need to own.


        • I have a FWB 100 10 meter target pistol. Its rated for .040 ctc groups @ 10 meters, shoots best adjusted to 496 fps; cocking force is 12 pounds.

          Beautiful pistol – as are the younger 102 and 103 models

          My SSP rifle is a FWB 603 – the last of the 600 series – in a funky green/red/blue laminated stock; 602 and 601 are also very nice to shoot.

          I have some detailed pictures of the cocking jig that I made. Its a couple of peices of wood, some screws and a strap-hinge. Will be glad to send them to you if you like.

          Hank


  14. Mr. Gaylord:
    Glad to hear that you’re on the mend and your eyesight is improving. Throughly enjoyed today’s blog post. Very insightful. (No pun intended!)

    What works for me (in order of preference) are the Airforce edge, Crosman Challenger, Benjamin Discovery in both .177 and .22 and a Daisy 853. That’s the total extent of all of the air rifles in my safe. Don’t what what this collection says about me. But these are what work for me.

    I’ve shot the TX 200 last year at Pyramyd Airs try and buy table. It and the other rifles Pyramyd Air had out are all beautiful air rifles. They undoubtedly work for others but not for me. I came home with a biathlon target box

    And except for the Daisy 853, there’s an Air Venturi 90 cubic inch carbon fiber tank and a backup hand pump to keep the others shooting.
    Respectfully,
    William Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Crew 357
    Chelsea,MI


  15. It’s too bad that Edmonton is so far from your neck of the woods…I have a sitting across from you with a tumbler of good scotch would be a very enjoyable evening B.B.
    I pretty much extend your line of thinking here to everything I purchase.
    Glitz and flash is always secondary to how long is it going to last, how comfortable is it to use and how good is it at what it does.
    It means that I don’t have a lot of ‘things’, but what I have is usually dependable and and does exactly what it is supposed to do.
    Didn’t always have this attitude…I had a number of sports cars in my youth. I loved Alfa Romeo’s, had a couple of them, but it was always a love/hate relationship. Driving down the street in the mid 70’s in my bright red Alfa Spyder always garnered the admiring looks from cute young things…but I spent much more time in the garage trying to get the carbs adjusted so it would run properly, or pouring in yet another qt of oil (those early all aluminum heads would warp if you looked at them wrong).
    Case in point. A few years ago one of my co-workers, who knew I used to have a thing for cars came into my office and said I just had to see what was in the parking lot. A nice new Lotus Elise. Very pretty. But my main thought was ‘absolutely no room for a gun or camping gear…and it’s off road capability looked pretty dismal’.
    For years now I have driven nothing but utilitarian 4×4 with lots of room and a go anywhere ability.
    Same with cameras…too many big lenses that looked impressive, but were hardly ever used and were so big and heavy they sat unused in the closet 90% of the time.
    Years ago I realized I had a lot of unused, fancy stuff cluttering my life…and not a whole heck of a lot of disposable cash. Made some major thought changes and now I have a lot less ‘stuff’…but it all works well, last a long time if taken care of and I have enough extra $$ on hand (definitely not rich however) that I can pretty much take time off when I like to go out and use what I have.
    Over the past few years I have gotten rid of the few airguns (and powderburners) that I bought on an ill-conceived whim because they looked cool (Crosman Nightstalker was the last, donated to our local scout troop just last month).
    Have it narrowed down to the Slavia, Avanti 853, and a couple of Umarex action pistols. Same with the powderburners…we (myself and two sons) each have our favorite rifles and a 1911…not a lot but they are all accurate, dependable and none of them are closet queens.
    The one who dies with the most toys doesn’t necessarily win in my opinion.


    • CSD,

      Oh my gosh! I had completely forgotten my Alfa 1600 Spyder Veloce that ate so much of my time and money! Traded it for as Dodger 440 Magnum and saved huge in the long run. Put gas in and go.

      But I loved the movie “Grand Prix” which I saw when I still owned the Alfa.

      B.B.



  16. B.B.

    Amen brother. I have had a short “career” and learned a lot. The box store super springers are not for me. All I have asked for was to hit what I’m shooting at. Once I found this blog everything fell into place. My only regret was missing the boat on the Bronco. I am unable to order the tech force M8 (easily) because I live in Illinois. But I am saving for my own “ralphie moment” and I hope an HW30s finds its way under my tree this year. I even plan on buying most of it myself. I have lived vicariously through this blog and it has helped me focus my energy on something positive and has helped me defeat my detrimental habits. I am not exaggerating when I say I am a new man.

    Tom I have prayed for your health and am overjoyed with your recovery. This blog is very dear to me and I know how selfish I am wanting it to continue for a very long time. But even more importantly I hope you do what makes YOU happy for a very long time!



      • Yes, what you got now here would be high on my list of great jobs.
        Since you’re a car guy…
        At one time photography was part of my career…local fashion and advertising stuff.
        I remember reading an article once in Road & Track magazine, about 1982.
        They were test driving four or five sport sedans…Audi 5000, BMW 5 series…that sort of thing.
        A four day road test in Scotland…touring scotch distilleries (you might have gathered that I have a wee thing for a dram of Scotlands finest).
        Supposedly up for breakfast, four hours of road testing then off to a distillery (no mixing of the driving and drinking).
        I couldn’t help but think…PEOPLE GET PAID FOR THIS!!!
        I want that job.


    • Punchin Holes

      I live in Illinois and I bought a M8 just a little while back. Why are you having trouble getting it?

      Oh and that is one of the other 7 air guns I have. And just realized I have 8 airguns. Forgot about my old Benjamin pump pistol that I had for ever. Can’t remember when I got it and yep it still operates and looks brand new.


      • GF1

        I haven’t personally tried for that particular rifle but I have had difficulty in finding consistency with shipping. I had a slavia 634 picked out from budsgunshop and they told me I needed I needed an FFL dealer to handle it. I am not a fan of extra fees and the extra hassle. (Although I’m not saying it is impossible) By the same token I contacted the archer airgun team about purchasing and shipping qb79 and they had no objections. I was very confused and luckily found the used Dianas locally and purchased them. I have found inconsistency with the firearm law for Illinois in different sporting goods stores. If pyramyd air will ship one I will buy it. 🙂 PS: How do you like it?


        • Punchin Holes
          Some people don’t like the M8. I like mine. No problems with it at all.

          And order from Pyramyd Air and you won’t have no problem getting a M8. Also they are in ohio. So no sales tax. Plus they have a 10% of discount code you can use off your order it’s on the website and on the back of the mail out catalog. Also they have 10% off and free shipping special sometimes.

          I’m on the way to work right now so I can’t post the current coupon code to you. I will get it and post it after I get to work. It will be about 45 minutes or so before I can post it.



          • GF1

            I appreciate your generosity. I will consider the purchase as I am somewhat tight on funds (it’s budget season, need it to get hot outside for some OT). Plus I need to order my vortek kit. Plunking down a sizeable down payment for my wife’s car has slowed me up but I will let you know Friday if I use it. Thanks again.


            • Punchin Holes
              No problem. Just wanted to post a code incase you were ordering soon.

              And it’s not the code I wanted to post. I was going to give you the one from the back of the Pyramyd Air catalog I have in my tool box here at work. But it was a old catalog so the code was expired.

              You do know you can sign up for a catalog on the PA website. Also you can sign up and get emails from them for sales they are having. And I believe they give you a code when you sign up for emails.

              When I get home tonight from work I will post the recent code from the catalog. I should have a good catalog there.

              Oh and do you mind if I use PH for short for your user name when I respond. Was going to ask earlier and forgot.


        • Punchin Holes

          Here is the code I was looking for. It’s on the back of the Pyramyd Air catalog Volume 8.
          The coupon expires May 31,2016

          The code is AG-2016-1A

          It is a good code.


  17. Well thank-you Eric from PA IT department. I am able to post a comment. Glad your eye is better BB! As for what I want most in air guns , I want what was . Latest one is a Crosman 118. it didn’t work , but that was OK with me as I am also a tinkerer and that what’s makes it fun.


  18. Hi BB, nice to ‘meet’ you. My airgun journey started when a friend gave my boys each their own Red Ryder a couple years ago. We then signed them up for 4H Shooting Sports, Air Rifle Project. The more I ‘helped’ them practice, the more addicted I got. Often I’d realize I was out there shooting ‘just one more target’ and they had gotten bored and gone inside half an hour before! Fast forward 2 years and now my favorites are my Beeman P17, which I love(I wear one glove to save my hand from the repeated cocking–I find the sharp edge of the rail hurts my hand after repeated cocking; my son’s Daisy Grizzly (gives me the tightest groups of anything when I’m working on my NRA Marksmanship Qualification ratings at 5 meters); and my other son’s Daisy Powerline 880 for Eurasian Collared dove hunting on our acre and a half (or eggshells from the compost pile, clothespinned to the fence when there aren’t doves around!). I also just got a Beeman gas ram dual-caliber which I’m really excited to start using (still just dieseling so far!) You are right on–I like what I like, how it feels, and that it hits what I aim at and doesn’t give me grief! I don’t have to worry about getting tempted by the fancy, expensive, beautiful guns, because my husband would have a fit if I bought that expensive of a toy–I’m so glad there are some great ones in EVERY price range. (I saved up Bullseye Bucks for ages plus waited for a sale to get my new dual-caliber Beeman for less than half the cash outlay 🙂


    • Katie,

      Welcome to the blog.

      Wow! A mom who shoots. That is a rare commodity in my world.

      Thanks for the glove idea for the P17. Don’t you wish Beeman would see the light and make a rifle on a similar concept? It would be so easy to pump and a hoot to shoot. I’d buy one.

      B.B.


  19. B.B., you mention the Slavia 634. Does the red or blue “plastic” stock version count? Didn’t know if it was the same or not. It’s much harder finding a wood stock one. Thank You,
    Doc


  20. My first entry into “Adult Airguns” was a model of rather not name since it’s still being sold. It was one of the early 1000 fps rifles, and cheaper than most. Shoiting it was like using a cracked baseball bat. My interest waned quickly. Dropping about 200 fps might have changed everything.

    Funny, but I was shooting .22 rimfire pistol silhouette at the time, and worked hard to find ammo that stayed just below supersonic for best accuracy. How I firgot that lesson when I went air rifle buying, I still don’t know.

    Having learned from that, when I gave it another go round this year, velocity was the last thing I looked at. I ended up with a Walther LGU, whose greatest attributes according to every review was how smooth and vibration-free it shoots. What do you know- The opposite of the first rifle.

    And does Pink and/or Zombie ever work? Those are the last items I see on shelves, whether it’s guns, ammo, targets, or what. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard gun-shopping women say “just as long as it isn’t pink”. The pink and zombie themes look like one of the biggest marketing failures in guns to me.


  21. So you get to keep the eye?! Well, there’s something to be grateful for! I didn’t even know that was in question. Glad you’re through the worst.

    So, what the heck happened to the Bronco? I am indeed one of those crying about missing the boat. It seemed like just the model to try out the breakbarrel design. The “what works” paradigm is an interesting shift from the expensive vs. cheap paradigm with a complicated interrelationship. The HW30S isn’t my idea of a working gun although I’m sure it works well. And it’s hard to believe that the TX200 doesn’t provide some extra satisfaction with its great performance, workmanship, and price. I can see a cheap, working gun to be more satisfying than a super-expensive gun that you can’t use like a Whiscombe. But for a top performer like the TX200, I don’t know.

    Also, I think that Kevin is a more complex man than appears. I recall him praising the Winchester 94 as his back-up gun, and that is almost a paradigm of a no-frills working gun. But I also remember the standards of quality, and for airguns, I think it was more of a case of attacking in another direction like the Marine Corps in Korea. I recall Kevin taking a keen interest in pcps.

    ChrisUSA, I must have missed your reports about the TX200. Sounds like you have enjoyed it. If you could point me to a report or give me a quick summary, I would appreciate it.

    Gunfun1, I see I am not the first to discover pine cones. Their fragmented appearance reminds of the classic pineapple grenade design, so I wonder if the pine cones shatter spectacularly on impact. Airguns might actually be preferable to firearms for pine cones since airguns would just chip off part where firearms would obliterate them completely. The dried corn cobs sound terrific. Who needs tannerite and the risk of blowing off arms and legs? The only other creative target I’ve heard about is ice cubes (shot with a Benjamin 397). Those would shatter impressively, but they wouldn’t store well in temperatures that are comfortable to shoot in.

    The pine cones and dried corn cobs will enable me to try out a tactical vision that I’ve come up with. Picture me getting accurate enough to hit the targets pretty reliably with deliberate shooting. Then I would up the speed ever so slowly and gradually sort of like I’ve done with my speed drills indoors on a conventional target. Between steadily reducing dead time and rearranging the targets into more complex layouts, I would ultimately achieve a state where I am hitting all the targets at the rate of a machine gun. I would be the perfect smart weapon with aimed automatic fire! A full-auto airgun wouldn’t be necessary or even desirable.

    Matt61


    • Matt61
      If I remember right I seen ice tray targets that have shapes of animals I believe it was. A bunch of different animal shapes on one tray. I will have to see if I can find it and I’ll post a link.

      Best t I have shot at regular ice cubes too. I like reactive targets myself. More fun when you can see the power of the gun work.

      I got multiple steel spinners placed out in the yard along with my paper target and pellet stop. The spinners are definitely more fun than the paper target.


    • Matt61,

      Well, it was my first air rifle after many years away from shooting much of anything. Being a bit older and wiser after years of impulse purchases,… or things that “I needed”,…. I had learned that it is better to buy once instead of working your way to the “top” It saves a ton of regrets and ends up costing a whole lot less in the end. Not to mention the frustration and anxiety factor.

      So I found this place, listened to what sounded good and made sense. The rest I mentioned above pretty well. That was early ’15 or late ’14. Being Winter in Ohio, indoors was it. Just beginning, 1″ groups at 41′ looked pretty good. That progressed to 5-10 all touching and things got kind of boring at that point. 25 yds. seemed daunting,….. now up to 70 yds. 2 1/8″ at 70 was the latest play time. 10 shots. “yawn” to some maybe, but I was thrilled.

      Onto PCP’s now and starting all over again on the learning curve. I will not forget the springers though. In fact,… I miss them already.


    • Matt61,

      Always impressed by your memory.

      My Winchester 94 was always carried not as a back up gun but to use when idiots I guided for weak shot an animal that inevitably headed into dark timber. Open sights and nimble handling mad the 94 choice a no brainer.

      Hadn’t shot that gun in years until we had to deal with a major pest problem on our property this winter. Here it is and its graphic for the squeamish:

      http://s444.photobucket.com/user/klentz4/media/1-2-2016%20cat/2-2-2016%20cat_zpsdp1qxpma.jpg.html?o=45

      kevin




  22. So much good stuff here today, and no way I an digest it all just now.
    I want to mention something. PA now has the Colt M45 CQBP co2 pistol from Umarex.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Colt_M45_CQBP_CO2_Pistol/4070

    To me, it bears an interesting resemblance to the Crosman GI Model 1911 co2 pistol.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Crosman_GI_Model_1911_CO2_Blowback_BB_Pistol/3095

    However, everything I can find states that this pistol is single action only versus the Crosman’s double action only.

    As such, this Umarex is seems to be what I wanted the Crosman to be (not withstanding any other differences in function or quality).

    ~ken


  23. I’d like to start by saying I am not new to the airgun world by virtue of my one BB gun I’ve had since teenage years- a Crosman M1 Carbine with wooden stock, complete with magazine, proudly hanging on my wall. Lets just say I took many years away from airgun shooting before I returned last year, looking for a new hobby.

    So last year I found 3 guns that work for me, all Crosmans. First, because of nostalgia, I purchased a 1322 and added a stock , intermounts, and backpacker pump arm, and added an old 20mm rimfire scope to it. Super. Then I wanted a rifle so I picked up an M4 refurb from Pyramyd and added a Fieldsport red dot. Perfect, a delight to shoot. Then, out of curiosity of wanting a springer, I recently took a chance on one of the last TR77 refurbs from Pyramyd, and man am I glad I did! Kind of a shock after a year with smooth, mild mannered pumpers to go to banging springer power, but I have adapted and respect its power and accuracy-I love the kick! For pellets I use Premiers for all of them with great results. Being a city dweller I am limited to basement shooting so no PCPs in my foreseeable future—but I wonder what will be next? It is a golden age of airgunning for sure.


  24. “It’s like trying to imagine a senator who isn’t serving his state so much as he is serving himself.” Sad to say that isn’t very hard to imagine. Just look at the Senate!
    Great article BB! It is so true. At least I didn’t wait until she married the banker! My air guns are shooters for sure.

    2 Diana 52’s one in .177 and one in .22.
    1 FWB 124 (Was My Dad’s)
    1 Diana 34 in .22 cal.
    1 Walther LGM-2

    All but the Diana 52 in .177 were bought used at good prices. You have to love that!

    Mike


  25. BB,

    I got involved with modern airguns twelve years ago with a Beeman Silver Bear. I had no idea how to care for it. It got cleaned after every shooting session, and was frequently dry-fired and over-oiled. When it Dieseled, I thought that was cool. Guess what? The spring broke, and I can find no way of getting the stock off to repair it. It stays in my closet as a reminder of my enthusiasm and ignorance,

    About that time, I discovered this blog. Gee, I shouldn’t have been doing that stuff! Then I bought two Daisy 880s and a 856. One 880 was wearing out and developed a cracked stock. I discovered replacement parts were unbelievably low-priced, and, with a little support from Daisy, I rebuilt it. The 856 remains one of my favorites. Even scoped, it is light enough to carry in the desert all day.

    Eventually, I got tired of pumping the things up for every shot. I bought a series of break barrels: Winchester 600X and 1028; Gamo Hawk; Crosman Storm XT. I also bought a few classic BB guns: Daisy Red Ryder (2); Marlin Cowboy. Two more airguns stand out: a 1960 Daisy Model 25 in non-operating condition. I made a project out of this one, completely rebuilding it. It was the gun I wanted as a kid but couldn’t afford. It was a good shooter, accurate and dependable. My son-in-law had done a lot of favors for me and really liked it, so I gave it to him. I also bought a Beeman RS2. The first one literally shook itself apart, breaking its scope and jarring my fillings loose. I exchanged it for another new one. After it broke in (again breaking its scope), and being fitted with a .22 barrel, it became a favorite gun. It smoothed out, the replacement scope (a Tasco) works well.

    Finally, I took BB’s advice and bought a Target Model Bronco. This gun is smooth, accurate, and tame. Glad I bought it when I could.

    I bought a Walthers PPKs gas pistol, shot it till it wore out, and bought another new one. I liked it so well I looked for a powder burner version, but couldn’t find any I could afford. Then I bought an improved copy, a Makarov 9mm. This is a wonderful firearm, and a good concealed carry gun. The only draw back is the ammunition is rather hard to find (9x18mm) and expensive compared to the common 9x19mm Luger ammo.

    The best buy in air arms is the Beeman P17. I can’t believe the quality and accuracy of this pistol, especially at the price. If this powerplant could be put in a long gun, it would really be a winner. A long gun would use a long cocking lever, taming the effort needed for the pistol. Don’t hold that P17 close to your beer belly when you cock it! I found out the hard way.

    BB, I’m very pleased to see you are getting better. You are in my daily prayers, and so was Edith.

    Les


  26. Lets say you have obtained every airgun you want that meets your shooting desires …only now, you have unlimited funds and money to burn. Would you stop there or continue to buy more guns?…

    And which direction would you go with further purchases if you did ? Limited editions, rare collectibles, more of the same type you have from different companies, fun plinkers or some of everything? Remember…cost is no problem.


    • A little more clarity on “Cost is no problem ” before I get “Find better things to spend my money on! Assume you already have that too, or just say stop buying there.


    • Bob,

      I’m struggling with this very problem right now. There is an airgun that I want and it’s being offered at a very good price. I can afford it, but it is a lot of money and I have already spent a lot on airguns this year. The gun is slightly undervalued, in my opinion, so I should be able to get the money back if I needed it.

      What to do? Is this an investment, or am I out of control? Tough call.

      B.B.


      • BB,

        First you take care of your ‘Needs’, That done … you move on to your ‘Wants’ If you can get it without any hardship or problems, “Go for it !”
        Seems’ to me guilt is your real problem and you are trying to rationalize it away … At our age we should indulge in all the pleasures we can ! And have an ice cream pop after you order it !

        Had a lengthy reply but it vaporized and sent me back to the sign in page? Fat finger problem ?

        Bob



          • BB and Bob M
            I think about that all the time.

            I’m really, really trying hard to stick to those 4 guns I mentioned above. I will keep them for sure.

            But I really want another .177 caliber pcp gun. Don’t have one right now.

            And I rally want a big bore gun and the dual purpose Wingshot shot gun keeps tugging at me hard.

            But I do believe that I see myself getting those 2 guns in the future.

            I have been in control lately though. Just been buying ammo for the guns. You know you can’t never have enough. Man this air gun stuff is harder than what meets the eye. 🙂


  27. “The doctor says the operation was a success.”

    B.B., that’s awesome; glad to hear it! =D And I’m with you on zombies and pink; my Sheridan C-model is a great airgun because it is a quality piece with a nice trigger; also, it does not need a scope (receiver sight is great on this gun!) and it does not weigh 10 pounds! I WISH one of these airgun manufacturers would put me on their board! 🙂


  28. BB:

    In the early 1960’s, while I was in my early teens, my Mom had a retinal separation. Despite the best efforts of medical technology at the time, she lost the sight in that eye. In her late 70’s she lost the other eye. Tough to watch someone you love go thru all that. Spent the last ten years of her life barely able to tell if it was daylight or not (with one eye!).

    Fast forward a few decades and my brother and I have both had retinal holes and/or detachment. In all cases we’ve had a positive outcome. Although it’ unfortunate that we’ve had these problems in our lives, I count my blessings that I live in a time and place where the medical technology makes it possible to recover, unlike my Mom.

    Couldn’t be more pleased that things are turning out well for you. Keep you in my prayers.

    Motorman
    St. Louis, MO


    • Motorman,

      Until it happened to me I had no idea of how serious a retina detachment can be. I’ve heard of so many others who had problems with the surgery that I now realize how fortunate I’ve been. I thank the Lord I can still see.

      B.B.


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