Why can’t “they” get it right?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A great idea
  • The 160
  • Pellets were the key
  • What if…
  • The lesson
  • Not picking on Crosman
  • The point
  • QB78 is okay

I was set to report on another vintage air rifle today, when yesterday I got a superb comment that prompted today’s report. Reader reallead was responding to a comment from reader Halfstep, who was wondering about the accuracy of his QB78. Let’s look at it now.

Halfstep,
Being the owner of a QB77 I’d like to add my comments. I bought my QB77 from MAC 1 in Calif. several years ago. According to the imprinted receiver, it was made (imported?) by Sportsman Airguns. Someone told me that QBs were actually made in Korea, but I don’t know for sure since I can’t find the country where it was made anywhere on the gun. [Editor — As far as I know, the QB air rifles were all made in The People’s Republic of China.]

My specimen has been a real shooter. On any of our hot summer Kansas afternoons when the temp. is anywhere between 90 and 100, it will shoot Crosman Premier Lights at 760-780 fps. (7.9 gr.). Advertised speed is 750. Of course, no complaints there.

Is it accurate? Well, from a sandbag rest and with a  fixed power 4x scope mounted and no wind, I have hit houseflies with it from a distance of 50-60 ft. Not when they’re flying of course, but when they land on my paper target downrange, they’re inviting targets. I missed most that I shot at, but did hit a few, and there is more of a thrill in that than hitting a paper bullseye.

I would suggest loading a pellet in the gun and then take a .177 cleaning rod (I’m assuming your gun is .177) and stick it in the muzzle and push the pellet back out, then check the pellet for gouges or deep marks that it picked up when it was pushed over the CO2 exhaust port during loading. If its gouged or marked, then the exhaust port probably has a burr, and thats probably the cause of the accuracy problem.

I think there are a couple large lessons in today’s report, and they are for the manufacturers as well as for individual airgunners. So, pay attention, because this really happened!

A great idea

Like many things, this tale starts with somebody getting a great idea. The timefame was the late 1990s and the idea was this — what if a manufacturer could replicate the famous Crosman 160 air rifle? At that time airgunners were talking about the 160 in the same tones they reserve for guns like the TX200 Mark III today. In fact, if you look around, a lot of folks still regard the 160 as a special air rifle.

Crosman 160
The Crosman 160 is an all-time classic pellet rifle.

The 160 came out in 1955, when the 12-gram CO2 cartridge was brand new to airguns. It was made in .22 caliber, but there is a rarer model 167 that’s in .177. Back then, .22 caliber ruled the roost in the U.S.

The rifle existed in three variations, the last of which ran from 1960-1971, and was the best of all of them. That is the rifle I refer to when I mention the 160, because it has the upgraded crossbow trigger Crosman developed to their everlasting credit and the Williams S331 rear peep sight. To read more about the 160, read this three-part report.

The 160

The Crosman 160 was a single shot bolt action pellet rifle that used two CO2 cartridges. When it was launched, Crosman 12-gram cartridges were sealed with a bottlecap top that leaked badly. As many as 30-40 percent of them lost pressure after a year of sitting around. So imagine the public reaction to a rifle that needed two of these costly cartridges that were only partially reliable!

bottlecap CO2
The first Crosman CO2 cartridges were capped with a “bottlecap” (arrow) that had a reputation for leaking.

The first 160 also had a simple and crude direct-sear trigger that was not so good. However, by the time they switched to the third variation in 1960, the rifle was so much better that the U.S. Air Force bought several hundred to use for marksmanship training. When the bottlecap went away and the CO2 cartridge was sealed properly, the 160 became a robust air rifle in all ways except one — pellets.

Pellets were the key

The 1960s were not a good time for airgun pellets. The choice for a U.S. shooter was either Benjamin or Crosman, and neither pellet was particularly good. That is what set us up for the discovery in the mid-1990s (with the introduction of the venerable Crosman Premier) that the 160 was really a red-hot target rifle. That is when it all came together for this model — about two decades after Crosman had ceased production!

ashcan pellets
Crosman “ashcan” pellets of the 1960s and ‘70s on the left; Crosman Premiers on the right. When the Premier hit the market, the 160 rifle came into its own!

What if…

And this is where the story gets interesting. Now, don’t hold me to the exact details because I am doing this from memory. But as I remember it, an airgunner by the name of Henry Harn thought it would be a good idea if the 160 could be manufactured again. He had contacts in China, so he approached Tim McMurray and had him build a 160 with the best of everything — a premium piece! Then Harn took that gun to China and found a manufacturer who agreed to manufacture it for him.

I remember seeing that first production gun, called the QB22, in Rick Willnecker’s shop that was located in Maryland at the time. I wanted one very much, but it wasn’t cheap! Harn was working with the Chinese to ensure the quality remained as high as possible. Before long there was also a .177 version of the rifle, called the QB77. We were publishing The Airgun Letter at the time and I wanted to report on this rifle, but money was very tight and I never got the chance. Before long the QB 22 and 77 were history, but were replaced by the QB78 — a version the Chinese factory made without Harn’s participation.

I was never privy to exactly what the business dealings were, but I knew right away that the QB78 was not made to the same standards as the QB22/77. It was far less expensive (one-third as much strikes a bell). They had several issues, the worst of which was a barrel that was all over the place in terms of quality. Get a good one and you had a good rifle. A poor one would ruin your day.

The lesson

And that is the lesson today. I know many people think that a company like Crosman has a long and rich corporate memory — that they “remember” all the things they did back in the 1970s. But, in fact, “they” don’t. Through personnel changes over the years, “they” only remember as much as they are able to remember. Crosman does have a small museum that contains their vintage airguns, going all the way back. They also have a back room filled with guns they have examined over the decades, but the engineers that did those examinations may no longer work there.

They also had a huge corporate purge of back-room guns, parts and literature in the late 1990s that gutted their “memory.” I now own one of the repair manuals that once belonged to Rene Van derVeld — a name that’s well known to Crosman collectors, but probably to very few others. I got it and a several rifles in the Great Purge. Rick Willnecker got hundreds of guns and parts guns when that happened.

Former top Crosman engineer, Ed Schultz, is now working elsewhere, so there goes much of the corporate memory of the development of the Benjamin Discovery, the Marauder and the Challenger PCP — just to name a few key airguns.

Not picking on Crosman

It probably sounds like I am picking on Crosman, but let me assure you, I’m not doing that. They are still one of the most innovative airgun companies in the world today. The new Benjamin Wildfire and the Mayhem breakbarrel are ample proof of that! I could just as easily have said similar things about Daisy, except Daisy hasn’t brought out any really new designs of their own in decades. They do have a great museum, but I don’t think they have that many engineers developing new airguns these days.

The point

The point is this — it doesn’t matter whether an airgun or anything else is made in China, Turkey, Korea or Burleson, Texas. What matters is who controls the quality of what’s being made. Cheap or expensive also doesn’t matter as much as some marketeers think. Yes, cheap sells in the box stores. You can work cheap into a formula that will always give you returns — until it doesn’t! Just ask Remington about eating millions of dollars worth of returned products that were so bad even the box store didn’t want them!

But the “cheap always sells” business plan also turns off millions of potential future customers, when the effects of cheap come home to roost. I am talking about the long game here. You risk the future of your entire product line for small gains today.

QB78 is okay

I’m also not saying that the QB78 is a bad air rifle. Far from it. In the early days the quality could be sketchy, but over the years the manufacturers have refined this product line and the manufacturing processes that produce it to the point that the air rifle is a solid buy today. And, it sells for about three times as much it sold for back then. Half of the increase is due to inflation, but the other half has gone into quality improvements.

“They ” can get it right, but “they” are not always who you think they are. Food for thought over the weekend!

68 thoughts on “Why can’t “they” get it right?

  1. Armscor Philippines (same guys who make the Rock Island 1911s) has been mass producing a .22 cal. bulk fill CO2 clone of the Crosman 160 air rifle for some 40 years by now. It is one of the few steel rilfed barrel airguns made in that country and quality is pretty good and consistent. Most Philippine airguns have crude rifled brass barrels. Many even have their trigger actions framed by the wood stocks. No metal trigger housing so over time, things get loose. But the Armscor air rifle has a steel housing for the trigger action assembly. It is the only Philippine air rifle I would recommend.


  2. Lioniii,

    Unfortunately Armscor had ceased production about two years ago having decided to concentrate on firearm production. The good news is that nearly all manufacturers have shifted to placing their triggers in metal housings. Production is still practically in two car garages but the quality is improving. This is encouraged by the internet where bad news travels fast, so the makers don’t compromise on quality if they want to stay in business. It does slow down production rates though with most requiring months of waiting. Boutique makers are also sprouting all over not only on Luzon but also in Cebu, Davao and Ilo-ilo.

    Siraniko







        • RR,

          I knew that. I should have worded different. I was just saying that it makes it look old and adds a lot of character. And as Kevin said,.. choose the picture options and you can scroll over it real up close.



        • Hank,

          Yes I do. I have always had a bit of a blade obsession. There is the true Damascus, some that the grain is brought out with acid etching and then some that looks “applied”. I think that is case of “you get what you pay for”. I do not know,… but I would bet that the folding process can be accomplished by machine now. It almost has to be from what I have seen offered and the prices that they are offered at.


    • Hi guys!! Sorry about that RR, if you are ever in CT. I am very proud Tom!! Hiya Chris, I kinda like it too.

      I’m not sure how it’s presented when you click on the link, but if you like, I believe you can select “original” from the picture size choices that appear below the photo if you would like a closer look. I had to do that very quick as the wife wanted her kitchen table back!!


  3. BB,

    Your point has been my point all along, and not just with air rifles. I will wait to buy quality and willingly pay more for it.

    The marketeers tend to be out for the quick kill. They also tend to not be at any particular business too long before they move on to another, some eventually forming their own marketeering firms where they hire themselves out to multiple companies. It brings to my mind Fraiser’s talent agent. You had best remain very skeptical of anything they say.


  4. You don’t mess with a good thing.

    Prime example…

    Recently, Tim Hortons, a very lucrative Canadian coffee/donut franchise known for their great coffee was bought out.

    The new owners switched to a different supplier of cheaper coffee and McDonalds, seeing a good thing pounced on the opportunity and signed up Tims original supplier.

    The 20-car coffee line-ups are now at the McDonalds drive thru where there is 1-2 cars at Tims.

    Smart move Tims, save a couple of pennies and loose your clientele.

    You don’t mess with a man’s coffee.

    Hank


    • What Timmies has done to the donuts is far worse.

      They used to be fried fresh in each store, but to save labor costs they switched to frozen donuts they reheat. The quality has suffered tremendously.


      • StevenG

        Didn’t know about the frozen donuts but that may explain why the family lost interest in them.

        The frozen donuts (and resultant reduction of sales) of might have been the reason that they decided to go cheap on the coffee.

        They had a good thing and blew it being greedy. This is a very visible example – anybody waiting for MacDonald’s coffee can’t help but notice that the line-ups are getting longer.

        We used to be regular customers but purchases now are limited to the occasional bagel or muffin.

        Hank


    • Hank,

      I find that humorous. I see people at work that have their T.H. “trophy” cup that they picked up in the A.M. and re-fill it all day. It would appear that it is a status symbol among some. I wonder if they even know? StevenG’s comment warrants the same amusement.

      Yup,…… bad move(s).


      • Chris,

        Yeah, the magnum-sized “trophy cup” syndrome.

        Seen that a lot at one company I worked for. It was hilarious because the Tim’s or Starbuck’s cardboard cups were always filled with the coffee the company supplied free.

        Went into a one of those “gourmet” coffee places one time and was presented with so many choices that I finally asked to clerk if they could make a simple “double-double” for me.

        Ended up that it was twice the price I usually pay for a coffee I had to put my own cream and sugar in it.

        To make it worse, the coffee was so strong and bitter I threw half of it away.

        Haven’t been in one of those places since.

        Hank


        • Hank,

          Not so much the big cups,… just using one or being seen with one. Of course, they are same people that wear the latest in name brand apparel and have to have the latest fashion statement in $150-$200 sneakers. Neon colors seem to be in, along with contrasting neon laces. I guess that I am a bit too practical for all that. I will make my own coffee and take it with me before buying it. Besides,… it is a bit of a prerequisite as I need a couple of mugs before hitting the road,…. lest I be mistaken for an impaired driver. 😉



  5. Those old Crosman 160 rifles are great. I bought one about 10 years ago. Still shooting today as I had it resealed a few years back. Also have it’s baby brother, the 180. 🙂

    Mike


    • I have almost bought a 160 a couple of times but am waiting for a deal, I know the odds but I am blessed with patients.
      I have a 180 that was my grandpa’s and I scored a 187 that looks like it’s twin (same version with the safety in the stock). I got the 187 for $40.00, the seller said he did not know if it worked, it was a complete gun and didn’t look bad, I had a seal kit already, I didn’t care if it worked as I would fix it. When I got it I put a c02 in it with a drop of pellgunoil and it worked perfect with NO leakage. Both the 180 and 187 are great shooters.


  6. It’s rather fascinating to observe manufacturing in China. They can make tremendously good stuff when forced to, usually by a US or Western purchaser like Mr. Harn. Other examples include Chinese-made, but US-branded knives (the good ones like Buck, among others), Apple products and other US-branded electronics.

    They will almost inevitably knock off western-commissioned designs and try to sell to another western purchaser, often getting them in patent trouble when the products are imported to the US. Sometimes these knockoffs are pretty decent, as in the case of the QB78, other times not so much.

    What strikes me as weird is that, left to their own devices, the Chinese almost never produce a top-quality product, for which they could probably charge close to top-quality prices, instead they inevitably focus on lower-quality, and I presume higher-margin products. I suspect the margins are similar regardless of the price, so it would seem they would go for the top quality every now and then.


    • TwiceHorn,

      Ditto your comment. China, Taiwan and even Japan have had a bad rap for years. Most times it is justified. It is good to know that they “can” make good stuff. Spec. it, test it and Q.C. it.

      The Air Venturi compressor seems to be another one. China made. But,… for P.A. to run it through the proverbial wringer and then to pass it on to B.B.,…. and B.B. got the results he did is quite amazing. I wish that someone at P.A. had kept track of the hours used. That would have been a (rock solid) sales pitch addition.



      • Chris U
        Japan a bad wrap for years? Japan has had very good quality products for years. And they ain’t playing the game the way China is.

        A lot of American company’s have tryed the China route. And with not good luck. And I’m talking from personal experience in the machine shop world. It’s hit and miss with quality. And that’s another thing. They take jobs away from American workers. Well I shouldn’t say they as in China. It’s more the corporate greed really. Not China. And there is more when it comes to what China is doing with the steel that’s used in manufacturing. They buy up the scrap metal and chips as we call it from the machining process then make the the barstock and sell it to us. That also puts our American steel mills out of production. They basically have a monopoly on different aspects of the market. In reality they are very smart. It’s the corporate America that needs to wake up.

        And I know is it has cost the company’s that I know of that do machining of metal lots of problems when they tryed to have China manufacture it cheaper. It costed more in the long run. The parts all had to be screened all the time when we received them. It also costed extra money to ship from overseas. And China still charged money to make the lost bad products. Or we had to make them because there was a time line on the customers receiving the parts we was suppose to deliver.

        Does that sound like a win situation to do biusness that way?


        • GF1,

          You are correct on all points. Japan was more from the 60’s – 70’s. They are exceptional now. That is one reason I mentioned the Rav4. I would love to see Japan come out with a line of air guns. If the autos are an indicator of Japans quality,… then you can imagine what an air gun would come out like.

          Maybe in the next few years will see the business come back to our shores. President Trump is helping with corporate tax rates and renegotiating NAFTA on a one on one basis per country. There is a lot of in’s and out’s to all of that,….. but I like what I an hearing so far. And yes,… it comes down to greed and/or being able to stay price competitive.


    • I should add,… I drive a Toyota Rav4 and I drive it for a reason. Consumer Reports has most all of the foreign brands in the overall top rankings. American makers seem to have 1,2 or 3 models of (something) over their (entire) line up that may rank good.

      Air guns or cars or anything else,…. do your homework. Times have changed from what we used to know. Anyone in their 50’s to 70’s will have a hard time over coming the old stigma. As long as something has a proven track record, regardless of where it is made,… I will consider it.


    • Careful what you wish for. I’m old enough to remember when “Made In Japan” was spoken with the same air of distain as “Made In China” and ” That’s obviously made of Chinesium ” and so on. I also worked for one of the biggest manufacturing companies in the world as they and every other big company was scrambling to adapt Japanese production techniques to stay competitive with them. Maybe we don’t really need China to get too good at making stuff . ;>{()>


  7. When I was very young, (The early 60’s), “Made in Japan” meant junk. Not today. Japanese produced products are some of the very best. In the gun world, guns produced by Miroku are awesome. I have a Winchester/Miroku 1886 that is better than the original.

    Mike


    • Hi Mike….do you by chance have any Japan knives or binoculars or rifle scopes from the early 60’s???? If so I would give a few bucks (plus postage) for the priveledge of disposing of them for you.LOL On a related note,I’ll pay substantially more for any natural sharpening stones from Japan of similar vintage……you know,to pave my garden. 🙂 Arisakas also welcome….those would be my list of possible exceptions IMHO



        • Found this on the net about Toyota.

          In 1958, a little Japanese car called the Toyopet showed up in California. It got ridiculed. It got amazing mileage. And by the end of the year, it got about 288 sales. Who exactly made the first of those sales, however, remains a mystery, one which Toyota itself can’t resolve even though several entities have laid claim to being the first Toyota dealership in the United States.

          Mike


          • Mike
            I think that car is in that link I posted of the cars. And I remember as a teenager growing up in the early 70’s seeing the foreign cars on the road.

            They always seemed much smaller than the American cars. And such small engines. But what I remember most from having the muscle cars and meeting up with some of those foreign cars. Is you learned real quick to not underestimate them. Some of them little son of guns ran their butts off. And they tended to handle well also.

            All I can say is had some fun times back then.



        • I really enjoyed that link and ain’t it amazing the resemblance to some of today’s small car trends.I will have to check the grill & trunk of my 1966 New Yorker…..it’s possible I have a couple of those Japanese cars…..:)!



            • Wheel chocks for parkin’ her on a hill…..LOL I knew a guy that had one of the first Civics waaay back when.He also had one of those surfboard sized sailboats.It was a “Sunfish” I think.I still laugh when I recall how it looked strapped down on the car.Like he was carrying the Golden Gate bridge!


              • FrankBpc
                There is a Honda dealer out by where I work that for a bunch of years had one of them first Civics. It was a early 70’s car. Bright yellow. Unbelievably small cars. Kind of reminds me of the early Mini Cooper’s. Which a guy down the road from my old house had.

                And now that you mention surf board size sail boat. Heck I bet if you strapped a surf board to the roof of one of those Mini’s or Civics. Then drove down a hill with the pedal mashed and hit a speed bump bet they would fly for a couple car lengths with a good head wind of course. 🙂

                But really on the serious side. I always did like those two cars I mentioned. I always had muscle cars growing up. But I would like to own at least one of each. Heck I like the new Civics and Cooper’s too. Well and the new Fiats at that.

                Now it makes me think what my buddy did with a Chevette. Yep a small block Chevy went in it. And while I’m at it. How in the heck did Chevy come up with the name Chevette. It was sure far from the design of a Vette.


                • Bringing back lots of memories bro.Even before facial hair I had a love for ‘vettes(Cor- NOT Chev-).First I ever rode in was a 1976 w/ a 427!!
                  As for Fiats,in the mid 80s I lived in the mountains of upstate NY above Albany about 30 miles.Friends father was a Commander in the USCG,and he had 5 of them.124s,128s (Bravas) and a Spyder sport coupe.They had 1600 & 1800cc mills,and 5sp trans.Mountain roads were great fun….most of the time.I had no license yet but was a pretty mature 16 yr old. One day the Commander’s 14yr old son Chris was begging his dad to take us to the Crossgates mall 40 miles away.He gave me the keys! This was a huge gesture of trust that meant a lot to me.Two miles away going 15 around a 30mph curve we hit black ice……slid sideways over a deep ditch and rolled over in a cattlecorn field.Nobody hurt bad but someone called 911.Ambulance almost slid in the ditch too! The judge in Knox NY saw fit to keep me legally from driving for a couple years.I was so crushed that I let the father down….but he was great about it.I miss the Rank family and wouldn’t be here without them.Oh,and the car was rolled back on it’s wheels……hardly any damage and still ran great.


                  • FrankBpc
                    That was a great story. I mean bummer that the crash happened and you had one of those kind of judge’s.

                    But yep like those little cars. They was so easy to work on and as I say simple but effective for what they needed to do. And the muscle cars of the day to weren’t bad to work on. I loved getting them and fix’n em up.

                    The muscle cars that is. Makes me remember when I got my license and before I got my first car. Pop had a 70 Pontiac Catalina 2 door with a 400, 4 barrel carb. A turbo 400 and a 3.55 posi. He let me take the car for a drive by myself. Well you know what I did. Got a couple miles from the house and stopped and got on it. Was shifting the auto manually. Had it held and first and after the tires stopped spinning and the engine started reving it happened so fast that the tranny forced shifted itself into second gear. The dang thing jumped I bet a car length burning the tires again. I let off and thought to myself. That was pretty cool. So learned real quick from that the turbo 400’s would power shift into second if you held them in first. Then learned later on the turbo 350’s wouldn’t and liked to blew up a small block Chevelle I had trying to make it shift. But that darn little 283 just kept a rev’n.

                    But anyway got back home with Pop’s car. First thing he asked was you been hot rod’n the car? I go well of course not. He put his hand on the hood. He goes the hoods hot. Then he says. It never gets hot. I just walked away and smiled while I wasn’t facing him. But that next weekend that came. He goes come on were going to find you a car. He goes my cars for getting back and forth to work to make money. Can’t have it breaking.

                    So at least got me a car out of it all. 🙂


                • GF1,

                  My first job after high school involved deliveries. The owner hired kids from the auto/diesel school to work on the cars he “collected”. More of a flipper really. We could choose from whatever was running. Cadillac’s, Lincoln’s, Charger’s, Challenger’s,… you name it. If traffic was heavy,…. the Civic was the choice. Even my 6’4″ frame fit in it well and it was a blast to drive.


                  • Chris U
                    You know what that’s true. I know the early Civics and even the early Mini Cooper’s had nice interior room.

                    I think that was part of why they started selling good. They were nice little simple but we’ll thought out packages.

                    I wouldn’t really mind at all having one now. Heck I would drive it on the weekends to run errands.


      • Without looking, I know I have a Bushnell “Scopechief” 3X to 8X .22 scope made in Japan from that era. I have it on a Marlin/Glenfield Model 75 right now. It still works, I bought it new. I would consider a trade for a different .22 scope if you want it. I also have a couple pocket knives, “Sharp” brand. They are marked “Japan”. I got them from my Dad years ago so they may be that old but I’m not sure.

        michaelrigotti@centurytel.net

        Mike


  8. AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

    PA has quit carrying H&N Field Target pellets! That is THE pellet for my Webley/Hatsan Tomahawk! Now I am going to have to start all over again to find THE pellet! Sob!



      • GF1,

        I think I have found another supply of them with another well known airgun retailer. I will just have to buy a good quantity of them to insure my needs, most especially since I know they work.


        • RR
          Oh no. Now the .22 rimfire shortage is happening in the air gun world.

          And that’s exactly why I have a nice supply of my favorite JSB pellets. But more on the lines of them being out of stock and sometimes they take too long to get back in stock.


  9. I just can’t help bringing up the idea of a multi-pump again. The quality of the 160 would be just right for a good multi-pump with a reasonable price. I think Crosman has most of the parts on hand. Using the 1377/1322 platform and making sure it has all the interchangeability for aftermarket add-ons would be great. The initial rifle could start with all the plastic of the cheaper models but be able to add better parts and better barrels.

    I would think that a steel breech would be needed to provide strength for pumping maybe even an additional barrel band. A trigger like the Marauder and a barrel from the Maximus would be great, even if they came from the custom shop. The pump could be modified from the 13xx series or be taken directly from the 397/392 Benjamin. Only new items would be the pump tube, stock and pump handle.

    Or they could just separate the barrel from the pump tube on the 39x Benjamin’s but adding a steel breech would have too many modifications to other parts of the gun.

    I almost cry thinking about the demise of the old tried and true Benjamin and Sheridan pumps but a new multi-pump by Crosman would most likely replace them even if the new ones cost more.

    My guess is that the FX Independence has the high end market satisfied and may even be too much for the market.

    The history of Crosman got me to thinking about all the old multi-pump rifles from them and what they could do with their newer platforms. Seems like a great step forward.

    The biggest impediment is the new markets need for speed and the marketing of the break barrel guns. I was at a big box sporting goods store the other day and they had about 40 different air rifles for sale. I was listening to the folks that came in to buy an air rifle some for themselves and some for their kids. Most were new to air guns; all they looked at was the velocities listed on the package. They were selecting magnum break barrels that would be horrible for a newbie especially a youngster. The sad part was there was only one multi-pump to choose from, A Crosman 760. Even the 760 would have been a better choice than what most of them were looking at. They listened to me politely but still kept looking at the velocity on the package as the only thing than mattered in selecting an air gun. The other sad part is they will likely not end up enjoying their gun and never buy another one.

    Don


    • Don
      All true and what a shame. Something popped in my mind a different way for some reason this time after I read your comment.

      Maybe the big box stores just need to stop selling air guns. All its doing is setting up failures for future air gunners. They can keep selling the firearms. They pretty well perform as exspected when they are purchased. Air guns on the other hand is like a big mystery to most who encounter them for the first time.

      Pyramyd AIr should some how get their paper catalog placed on a magazine rack somewhere close to the sporting goods department. And of course you know that won’t happen. You know there just ain’t no good info for them buyers available at the stores.

      Maybe a flyer of some sort could be pasted on a for sale board as you walk into the store that gives a quick run down of air guns. Big black bold letters of course for the heading. Maybe that would catch people’s attention. I don’t think Walmart allows it. But I know the local farm store Rural King has a bulletin board as you walk in.

      Or maybe Pyramyd Air could spend a fortune and send the flyer to every address in America. Hopefully someone would catch on and get it. Doubt it though.


      • GF1,

        How about P.A. sending out catalogs more often, or 2 or 3? I personally would pass them on to spur other peoples interest. And,… being an informed consumer, I can steer them in the right direction and answer many questions.

        Yes, I am sure the catalogs cost money. But,…… and this is key,….. you are putting those catalogs in the hands of someone that (already knows airguns) and (already knows P.A.). Plus,.. it is just plain nice to see the look on someone’s face as their eyes glaze over while looking at the mass offerings in the catalog. Then,…. to tell them that is only about 1/10th of what P.A. offers. Despite the usual loss of speech,…. they manage to ask if they can borrow it for the weekend. 🙂 Many think that there is only a few airguns even out there to be bought.

        I just did that with a guy at work this Friday. I expect some questions come Monday.


        • Chris U
          I do the same with the people at work. Most of them had no idea what kind of air guns are available. Almost every one of them said they are going to get one with their income tax money.

          Matter of fact. One guy at work lives out on a farm and has firearms. He wanted something quiet that he could pest with so he don’t go around spooking his farm animals all the time. Had him over to my house a little while back. He shot the different air guns I have. He fell in love with my .25 Marauder. So he bought one and a Benjamin hand pump for now. He did say he is going to look into getting a HPA compressor though. But he absalutly loves the Marauder.

          But back to the other subject. The big box stores. Still even doing what we just talked about doesn’t help the big box customers or the rest of the other people understand and make a choice of what kind of air gun to buy. To me it’s a shame that all those type of air guns they have are even on the shelf.

          When I was a kid the sporting goods departments only had a few air guns available back then. They were basically a few Daisy BB guns. Some Crosman 760’s and a Benjamin 392 and 397. And there was a few BB pistols that used Co2. And a few Benjamin pump pistols. Which I do still have one in .22 caliber that still shoots like it’s new. It’s around the early 80’s model. The guns I just mentioned was in the early to mid 70’s.

          But my point being is for the most part them guns did perform well. They weren’t all hyped up with high velocity numbers and they used lead pellets or steel bb’s. And no silly sound suppressors and anti vibration devices. They was simple guns that worked.

          So now you see why I made the comment that the big box stores should just stop selling air guns.


    • Benji-Don,

      Out of curiosity, what was the big box sporting goods store? We have 2 that have popped up in the last few years within an hours drive, but I have never been in them. I have never seen anything close to 40 different air rifles for sale in a brick and mortar.

      With P.A. a mouse click away, I do not see visiting one anytime in the near future. From your comment, I am not missing much.


      • Chris U
        It was Bass Pro. I did not count them and included BB guns but they had most of one isle of air guns. While I was there no one from the store came around to help the customers looking at them. All the help was behind the cabinets in front of the wall of powder burners. Not that I don’t like powder burners just the way it was.


  10. Siraniko,

    It’s a shame Armscor quit making that 160 clone. Maybe that is why prices for that air rifle went dramatically up at the sporting goods stores when I was last there in 2013. I was actually able to use mine as a PCP by filling my stainless steel bulk fill 3,000 psi CO2 screw-on tank with compressed air from my scuba tank, making sure the fill pressure matched that of CO2. Did that with a pressure gauge scuba yoke and high pressure air hose, plus adapters for the bulk-fill tank. Saved me some trips to the CO2 filling station.

    Armscor would experiment from time to time and even made some springer break barrels and an LD swinging breech style PCP. ( I still have the .177 springer break barrel.) But the company could never justify entering the international airgun market in a big way. 1911 clones are just far much easier to make, sell and service than airguns.

    Lioniii


    • Lioniii,

      It seems that Armscor had subcontracted the manufacture to another company previously in Bulacan. Now they are producing their version although without the cachet of Armscor nor the marketing. There are only a few public samples seen with some reporting questionable accuracy though. I hope they are successful in their endeavor. There is a market for steel tubed CO2 airguns here as that they are used as a base for PCP conversions, although one does have to be careful in picking who does the conversion.

      Siraniko



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